Experience Leads to Career Choice for Newest Officer

After graduating from the police academy last month, Sweet Home Police Department’s newest patrol officer, Bryce Barreto, returned to field training with experienced local officers.

Barreto moved to his mother’s home in Sweet Home from Las Vegas when he was 15 years old after being robbed in a neighborhood park. At the time, he was living with his father and had gone to a park with a friend. There, a boy expressed interest in Barreto’s gold chain necklace and retrieved his older brothers to steal it from Barreto.

“Growing up in Vegas there was a lot of crime that I grew up around, especially on the side of the city that I lived on,” he said. “There was always something going on and I just wanted to get away from that.”

Working with police, he was able to retrieve his stolen items. It was an experience that not only motivated him to move to Oregon, but also sort of “paved the way” for him to consider law enforcement as a career.

“Growing up I’ve had a lot of good interactions with the police,” he said. “Through that whole process, the Las Vegas metropolitan police did a good job about handling the whole situation and making me feel comfortable. At the end of the day, they got my stuff back for me. They resolved the issue with no problems, and that gave me a very good perspective on police.”

After graduating from Sweet Home High School in 2020, Barreto picked up a variety of jobs in retail and the logging industry while trying to figure out what he wanted to do.

“College wasn’t really for me, but I wanted to do something bigger, like for myself and for other people,” he said.

Outside of work, Barreto enjoys playing video games and participating in outdoor activities, such as fishing. As long as he’s with friends and family, he’s happy.

“I try to be family-oriented as much as I can, try to find a good work-life balance.”

It was high school acquaintance Jayson Sanchez who encouraged Barreto to seek a career at the police department. The two applied for a position and both graduated from the academy together.

Reflecting back on his experience at the academy, the 22-year-old said they had to participate in role-playing scenarios around town. The students would respond to a call for a pretend crime and would be provided feedback on how to improve their handling of the situation.

“The best part was probably just the hands-on learning that we were able to do, like driving, defensive tactics,” he said. “I met a lot of great people who are probably going to be lifelong friends.”

Barreto said he is content to be a patrol officer, but noted there could be some interest in becoming a detective or student resource officer in the future.

“I feel like both would be pretty fun, but I also wouldn’t be upset about just being on patrol,” he said. “I like to go out and see the community, try to just be a positive influence out there.”