Nome welcomes newest NPD police officer

Last week, the Nome Police Department gained their newest officer-in-training, Crystal Toolie of Nome. As a Nomeite born and raised, mother of two, and distance runner, Toolie was attracted to the idea of applying to the police force to be able to serve the community. “I kept seeing ads for an officer,” said Toolie in an interview with the Nome Nugget. “There were two words that really stood out to me: community service. That’s what got my attention.”Toolie is the only female officer on the Nome Police Department. She said that the comments she has heard from folks in town as well as from other officers have been positive – they are excited to have a female officer now. Prior to becoming a police officer, Toolie worked as a deputy clerk at the Nome Courthouse. Before leaving her job and donning a police badge, Toolie needed to be sure it was what she really wanted. She went on a few ride-alongs with other officers to see what it was all about, and spoke with Chief Papasadora about some concerns she had. “Working at the courthouse, I knew that a majority of calls are intoxicated people,” said Toolie. “I am a small female,” she said, raising concerns of possible situations with large males that are not compliant. She said that the chief assured her that police training would ease those main concerns. She applied to the Nome Police Department in mid-August of last year. After the long application process, testing, background checks and a hold-up with trying to order a uniform that fits, Toolie is now ready to serve. She will be in continuous training with other officers helping with patrolling, answering calls and learning all the processes involved in enforcing the law. “Safety is huge,” said Toolie. “I did not realize how much goes into that – the details needed for traffic stops and domestic violence calls.”Also part of the training, Toolie will attend the police academy for four months sometime this year, and is excited to learn more. “There’s so much information,” she said. “The officers I’m training under are very knowledgeable in what they do. It’s so new for me.  Toolie said she is most excited for firearm training, which isn’t completely new to her. She has attended the Women on Target firearm safety course in Nome four times. “I’m a distance runner,” said Toolie, explaining how it can be unsafe to run alone in many areas of our region. “It’s so great to be proficient with firearms,” she said. Her distance running will definitely help with her physical fitness tests at the police academy. Toolie has a goal to complete a marathon in all 50 states – she has does eleven states so far. Her most recent race was an ultra marathon (100 kilometers) in Louisiana, where she said it rained the whole time. “I’m proud of myself for finishing that,” said Toolie.  As for other perks of being on the police force, Toolie said that her two daughters, ages 6 and 12, are excited for her new job. Her oldest thinks “it’s so cool,” and her youngest likes the new work schedule. With a rotating shift of either 3 days on/3 days off or 4 days on/4 days off, Toolie said that to her girls, it feels like she is home more often. When asked about the prominence of the police force in national news and the conflicting views expressed towards officers in recent years, Toolie said, “It’s something I’ve thought about, even though we’re in Nome – because it does affect Nome.“It’s such a heated topic,” she said. “I can definitely see the way people feel from both sides. I think it can get better. If people can have compassion, some of that [conflict] would be lifted.” The future will certainly bring many challenges and learning experiences for Toolie, who is optimistic towards her future career. She said that the police force has a lot to offer her as far as building confidence, and it is clear that she has a lot to offer the police force, like a strong sense of community pride and tireless ambition. After starting her training last week, Toolie said it has already totally changed the way she sees law enforcement. “I have a lot of respect for them,” said Toolie. “I’m just hoping to be the best officer I can be.”

The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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