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Fairmont Police Department: Officer promoted, shares experience

FAIRMONT — Jaime Bleess is a familiar and friendly name to many in Fairmont. Serving in the city’s Police Department, he was recently promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

Bleess was hired in 2003 and served for 11 years as a School Resource Officer and on night shift patrols during the summer. He has also worked as a Field Training Officer and Summer internship coordinator. Pleased and grateful for the promotion, Bleess looks back on his time in Fairmont with fondness.

“I’ve enjoyed working with new officers in Field Training for the first 12 weeks of their career here, and we’re doing what we can to help them succeed in that program,” he said.

“Along with that, I’ve been working with college students in the internship program. My job was to coordinate who they ride with and they get almost 300 hours worth of experience with us, not just patrol, but with dispatch, the jail, probation, and some of those other areas of law enforcement.

“Working with those students in the internship program, the goal has always been to try to help them successfully get a job and be successful in their first year of law enforcement. The Sergeant’s position is kind of an extension of that, where the goal is to make sure people have continued success.

“We want to see our officers be successful, and I’ve enjoyed the process of that. This is an exciting opportunity for me to be able to continue to work with officers and help them be successful throughout their career.”

Bleess’ new duties will primarily include supervising nights and weekends for the department.

“When I work a shift, I’m working with a team of officers. Collectively, our job is to make sure everything is ready for the next shift that takes over from us. We also make sure there’s communication between the shifts and make sure all the paperwork is ready for Monday when things get to court or get to the Chief and Captain to review.

“We want to make sure the shift is running effectively, and make sure our officers are successful in what they’re doing. When my co-workers and bosses show up the next day after that night shift, we want to make sure that they can look at our body of work and understand where we’re at and what needs to happen moving forward.”

Bleess notes that helping people succeed and feel safe has been one of the real highlights of his career.

“When I worked as the School Resource Officer, I think I was the happiest when the people around me felt safe,” he said. “It’s hard to measure that in a school.

“One measure of success in the Internship Program is that pretty much every person who has gone through the program has successfully landed a full-time police job. Looking back, they’re all doing well in their careers.

“The same is true as a Field Training Officer,” he continued. “In training newer officers, there are three or four of us that do that, and I only get them for a certain piece of those 12 weeks.

“What’s been rewarding for me has simply been being able to help them learn a few things. So where maybe I’ve made mistakes, I can share those experiences with them and help them avoid those. So sharing things like that while we’re riding around in a squad car has been rewarding.”

Bleess notes that as he has gained experience, helping others succeed rather than focusing on his own success has been the most rewarding for him.

“I think that’s the essence of a good Sergeant,” he said. “If your shift is going well and everyone that you’re working with is being successful, then that’s where the real reward is. Then our Department is successful and I feel like I’ve done my part in getting there.”

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