Morris Police Department’s two new officers started just last week, but they already feel at home.
“The department is definitely close-knit. They all get along. There are a lot of team players,” said Officer Tristan Borzick.
Borzick and Officer Mark Vanderploeg were officially sworn in as Morris officers by Mayor Richard Kopczick during Monday’s city council meeting.
“When we had our swearing in the other night, 75 percent of the department came, even on their day off. It shows their support,” said Vanderploeg.
The two officers were selected by the Fire and Police Commission through its application and testing process, said Chief Brent Dite. The department had almost 300 applications taken out for the two full-time openings.
The testing process consists of a physical and written test, an oral interview, psychological exam, polygraph test and a background investigation, he said.
Applicants are then ranked, and those officers who are already certified law enforcement are ranked separately. Borzick and Vanderploeg were the top two candidates for certified officers. Dite said since they are already certified, they do not have to be sent to the training academy, which saves the city money.
Borzick previously served for the North Chicago Police Department for two years before coming to Morris. He was trained at the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department Training Academy.
He, his wife, Monique, and their 9-month-old daughter, Payton, currently live in Plainfield and plan to move to Morris in the next year or so.
The crime is much less in Morris than his previous job location, but now that he has a family, that is what he is looking for.
“This community is very pro-police. They interact with you. They help you,” said Borzick. “It’s a good change.”
Vanderploeg joins Morris from Benedictine University Police in Lisle. He was trained through the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois. He applied for Morris because he wanted to be a “street officer.”
“This is something I always wanted to do. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” he said.
He’s already enjoying the change from being on patrol on a small campus to a whole city.
Although he is not from Morris, Vanderploeg is no stranger.
“I have an uncle in town, so I’ve come out several hundred of times. I’ve been to many Corn Fests. I know I’ll be working them all now,” he said.
Chief Dite said both officers are going to be great assets to the department. With them, the department now has 24 full-time officers.
“Both appear to have a good work ethic from their previous employment and through my discussion with them, both are excited to be working in the city of Morris and want to be a part of the community,” he said.