VALPARAISO | Two men, who shared a long-time dream of becoming police officers, had that dream come true Monday.
Brian Lambka, 24, of Valparaiso, and Jake Kerwin, 23, of Chesterton, were sworn in as the newest members of the Porter County Sheriff's Department at a Merit Board meeting. They bring the force up to the maximum level of 65 officers.
Both are the first in their family to become police officers. Lambka said it's something he's wanted to do for at least 15 years, and Kerwin said he's wanted to be an officer "as long as I can remember." Lambka starts his training at the Indiana University Northwest police academy Monday while Kerwin already graduated from the academy and is being road trained.
Lambka worked as an emergency medical technician for Crown Point before coming to the sheriff's department and served as an intern with the U.S. Marshals Service. Kerwin was an officer with IU at the Bloomington campus before joining the Porter County force.
"It's an opportunity to assist people when they need it the most," Lambka said of his desire to be in law enforcement.
Kerwin actually got his first exposure to being a police officer when a family friend who was a Riverdale policeman gave him his first look inside a squad car. He'll be ready for solo patrol duty in February and said his goal is to "move up and do the best I can."
The men were the third and fourth hired from a list of 115 applicants. Sheriff Dave Lain told the board the department will seek a new round of applications soon. Lain said he doesn't expect any vacancies soon but wants to be prepared.
Lain told family and friends gathered for the swearing in that Porter County attracts the "cream of the crop" to its service and that the support of family is important to the officers' success.
"Family many times is what sees the officers through to the end of the day," Lain said. "There's no questions this is a tough job. Knowing they have you out there can carry an officer and buoy him throughout his career. You are all part of our family. We will take good care of them, and they will take good care of all of us."
Lain also announced the reappointment of Fred McNulty to another four-year term on the Porter County Sheriff's Department Merit Board.