New police officer fulfills childhood dream

Benny Westcott

At the age of 24, new Sweet Home Police Department Officer Allen Cripe has already fulfilled two of his biggest childhood dreams.

“As a kid, my two ideal jobs I always wanted to do was be a Marine or police officer,” he said.

“It happened to work out. I became a Marine first, and then a police officer after. They both kind of stem from the same thought process and the way I was raised, with an emphasis on being as helpful as you can in this world. This world has enough not-so-nice people, so it’s not going to hurt to be a nice person in this world, helping anyone any way you can. Because it can change the outcome of someone’s life.”

Born in St. Joseph, Mich., and raised in nearby Eau Claire, Cripe moved with his family to Clermont, Fla., when he was in eighth grade and graduated from that city’s East Ridge High School in 2016.

He then attended Lake-Sumter State College up north in Leesburg, where he played baseball. However, he was enrolled for less than a semester before joining the United States Marine Corps, following in the footsteps of his father, Kelly, and older brother, Justin.

“I kind-of grew up around it,” Allen said. “I always had the internal feeling of serving. I love to help people as much as I can. Joining the Marine Corps was definitely something I really wanted to do.”

Allen Cripe served from 2016 to 2020, attending boot camp on Parris Island in South Carolina, then learning logistics and embarkation in North Carolina. After that, he reported to Camp Fuji, Japan, roughly two hours from Tokyo. There, he met his future wife, Emily, herself a Marine.

After a year abroad, Cripe returned stateside, to Yuma, Ariz. About eight months later, he deployed to Bahrain with the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force 19.2 for a tour of that length. Upon returning to Arizona, he decided to exit the Marines. His daughter, Cleo, was by then a year old, and he wanted to spend time with his young family.

“We had our family going, and the military lifestyle of deploying and leaving was getting a little hard,” he explained. “The night that I actually left for deployment, we found out my wife was pregnant. So I was gone for her whole first pregnancy with our daughter. It was a little hard. The first two years after meeting my wife, we were only together for roughly four months.”

After completing his service, Cripe finished a semester toward a criminal justice degree at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Kalamazoo, Mich., where he played some more college baseball.

He was also a warehouse supervisor for the Getman Corporation in Bangor, Mich., for about six months, until he and his wife decided in March to move to Sweet Home, where they’d previously visited Emily’s sister, Rae Sinclair, while the pair was stationed in Arizona.

Cripe and his wife “fell in love with the town” during those visits.Even while living in Michigan, he said, “We were just kind of missing Sweet Home and the small-town aspect of it. I like its small feel and how everybody kind of knows who everyone is. It’s just a nice, logging, blue-collar country-type town.”

He said he’d applied to one other Oregon police department in Oregon. Sweet Home, however, was his top choice. Happily, it worked out, and he reported for his first day of duty June 27.

“I absolutely love the job,” Cripe said. “I love being out in the community, trying to lend a helping hand wherever I can. I love learning everything associated with the position.

“The best part is when someone calls the police department and needs help with something, and you arrive at that location and help them resolve the issue. You can just see the stress, anxiety or any sort of worry on their face melt away, and you can see them relax, and just know that everything’s going to be OK.”

He thinks his time as a Marine will prove valuable in his new role.

“I think it’s pretty transferable,” he said. “I’ve been around the world to several places multiple times, so I think all the culture that I’ve absorbed and witnessed can definitely help in this kind of career field. And I think all the life experience that I got at such a young age definitely will help. All the training I received in the military is definitely transferable also.”

Looking ahead to his future goals, he said, “I hope to work up the chain of command, and after years of learning and experience, hopefully become a sergeant and captain and so on and so forth.”

He added that he wanted to work toward becoming a detective by continuing to take criminal justice college courses.

In his free time, Cripe spends time with his two-year-old daughter, Cleo, and seven-month-old son, Colson. He also enjoys fishing and watching college football and hockey. While wife Emily’s an Oregon Ducks fan, Allen favors the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

And when he clocks into work, he relishes the opportunity to be of assistance to the Sweet Home citizens he serves, enjoying the feeling of “helping people and giving as much service to others as I can.”