Woodburn Police Department swears in three new officers
Woodburn Police Chief Jim Ferraris swore in three new recruits during the Woodburn City Council meeting Nov. 13.
The trio — Tanya Virula, Jonathan Ellis and Ben Ward — were sworn in during the public meeting in front of their families.
Born in Los Angeles, Virula moved to Oregon in 2009, holding a number of jobs including administrative assistant, pharmacy technician and telephone banker. Her more recent position was with the Marion County Juvenile Department as a juvenile group worker.
Joining WPD is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream she had of one day becoming a police officer, she said. Her decision to work in Woodburn comes from a desire to make a difference in the community.
"Her maturity, life experience and skills will help her attain that goal," said Ferraris.
Virula is already attending the 16-week Basic Police Academy.
Jonathan "Jonny" Ellis
Ellis' story began in Provo, Utah, but he was raised in nearby Hillsboro. His desire to help others has been prominent from an early stage, as he obtained certified nursing assistant credentials and went on to spend the last several years working in adult care facilities and rehabilitation centers. One ride-along with a family friend who works in law enforcement was all it took to set Ellis on his next career path, one with the WPD.
"Jonny's character, integrity, life experiences and education made him stand out from other candidates resulting in his hiring," said Ferraris.
Ellis will train with coaching staff before heading off to Basic Police Academy for 16 weeks on Dec. 10.
Ward, of Portland, was education-driven early on, beginning with his associate degree from Linn-Benton Community College all the way to his master's degree in physical education from Eastern New Mexico University. Ben comes to Woodburn with previous law enforcement experience, having served as a police officer with the Astoria Police Department for just over four years. He moved over to the Oregon Department of Public Standards & Training where he served as the lead defensive tactics instructor for the academy and also instructed police vehicle operations. A good number of today's WPD officers actually learned skills from Ward during his 10 years as an instructor.
"We are fortunate to have an officer of Ben's maturity, character, integrity and experience," Ferraris said. "His training background and education will certainly help in further professionalization of our department as we continue to grow alongside the city's growth and demand for police services."
Because of his past law enforcement experience, Ward has already begun the WPD field training program.