Firefighter follows buddy’s steps to SHPD

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

Like a lot of youngsters, Ryan Paul wanted to be either a cop or a firefighter.

He’s already been a medic intern for the Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District and now he’s getting a chance to do the other, as the city’s newest police officer.

He said he’s enjoying the new job.

“I love running traffic,” Paul said. “It’s just always different, the people you’re going to run into.

“It’s kind of weird, going from the Fire Department where you’re everybody’s friend.”

Police officers are seen in a different light, he said, but he enjoys being able to make a difference and help people.

“I’ve come to have the best friends I’ve ever had here,” he said, so he plans to stay in Sweet Home and enjoy watching it grow.

Paul is attending the Police Academy.

He is the second medic intern from Sweet Home Ambulance District to become an officer at Sweet Home Police Department this year.

He followed in the footsteps of Sam Posthuma, who joined the police force earlier last year.

Paul applied for the position at the urging of friends, including Posthuma. He and Posthuma both were looking at the job earlier in the year, but there was only one position open. At the time, Paul had a job and Posthuma didn’t, so Paul decided to stay out of the testing at the time.

Paul grew up in the Southern California desert, in Cherry Valley, a small town about the size of Sweet Home. The city is located closer to Palm Springs than Los Angeles.

He graduated from high school there at age 17 and moved with his family to Sweet Home seven or eight years ago.

“It was the best move I ever made,” Paul said. “It was a major shock.”

Albany, Salem and Eugene are nearby, but they aren’t like the big cities of Southern California, he said.

In Sweet Home, he worked for H&H Machine and then went to work building custom ceilings at Wood Ceilings in Veneta with his father. He later worked at Les Schwab Tire Center in Albany and most recently was an intern medic with SHFAD.

Paul enjoys hunting, fishing and camping – just about any outdoor activities, he said.

Paul has no children and is unmarried. He has a girlfriend.

He remains a volunteer with SHFAD, he said.

“That’s where my best friends are at,” he said. “I’ve made the best friends I’ve ever had there.”