WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Purdue University Police Department is welcoming three new officers to its force.
A.J. DeMello, Trent Young and Ryan Melton all raised their hands Tuesday morning and took the oath to protect and serve the Purdue campus.
Demello is transferring over from the Lafayette Police Department, where he worked for 13 years including as a K-9 handler. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, having served nine years.
Young has been a corrections officer at the Tippecanoe County Jail since 2011. He was a cavalry scout in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Iraq, where he was awarded several medals: a Purple Heart, the Army Commendation and Army Achievement medals and the Combat Action Badge.
Melton is a Purdue graduate and a former police dispatcher from Hendricks County, where he worked 2 years. During his time at Purdue, he was involved in the Student Security Panel.
Melton said he decided to go into law enforcement when he was a Purdue student.
“When you find out what you want to do, you know it. I think I realized that when I actually worked for the Purdue Police Department as a student in security,” he said. “That got me that behind-the-scenes, you know, how things work and how things operate. That’s really when I fell in love with it.”
Melton said being a university officer creates a unique challenge.
“The students are here for an education, so the police officers are here to enforce the law,” he said. “But we’re also here to guide these students through their college career as best and as safely as possible.”
Young and Melton now begin their field training until February, then they will attend the police academy. DeMello starts his patrols as early as next week.