September 1, 2023

In the public eye: Community safety and compassion for others motivates Windham Police captain

Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Ed Pierce

Every police officer has a calling to that line of work and it’s not about the money they make or the uniform that they wear, it’s about keeping everyone in their community safe. Windham Police Department Captain Jason Burke embodies that sentiment and strives every day to make sure that happens.

Captain Jason Burke has served with the
Windham Police Department for 18 years
and currently oversees the police vehicle
fleet, police equipment, police field training,
and crash reconstruction program.
As the Captain of Patrol for the department, Burke’s duties include managing the police vehicle fleet, overseeing the patrol schedule, overseeing the department’s equipment inventory, supervising the police crash reconstruction program, overseeing the wrecker rotation list, and leading the police field training program. Burke also participates in a committee for the Cumberland County Regional Communication Center involved with law enforcement relations, and he oversees Windham Police Department recruitment and public relations.

“I began working for the department in 2000 when I was hired as a public safety dispatcher. I briefly left when I was hired by the University of Southern Maine Police Department in 2002, but I returned as a police officer in Windham in 2005 until now,” Burke said. “It’s a total of 18 years with the department.”

According to Burke, the best thing about his role as Windham Police Captain of Patrol is developing capable and well-trained officers.

“In my current role as an administrator at the police department the best thing about my job is helping other officers professionally develop themselves through training opportunities,” he said. “The most challenging aspect of my current role is balancing the needs of the department, our employees, and the citizens that we serve in ways that satisfy all interests.”

Originally from a small town in southwestern Vermont, Burke took a public safety course focusing on firefighting and law enforcement during his senior year of school and liked it.

“After graduating high school, I decided I wanted to become a firefighter and enrolled in Southern Maine Technical College to earn their associate of science degree,” Burke said. “While taking that degree program, I took some law enforcement classes and along with the high school class that I had taken decided I liked the law enforcement side a little better. After graduating with a fire science degree, I returned, and then obtained my law enforcement associate of science degree, as well. I am currently enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University for my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.”

Prior to working for the Windham Police Department as a dispatcher, Burke served with the Gorham Police Department as a dispatcher. Several of his friends, including a now retired Windham police officer, encouraged him to apply for a position with the Windham Police Department because of its reputation and the quality of service that the Windham Police Department offers to the community.

During his career with the Windham Police, he’s served as a patrol officer, a sergeant and now as a captain. He is a nationally certified traffic crash reconstructionist, a field training officer, and has served as officer in charge when needed and is the past long-term president of the Windham Police Association.

“Many people think my job is easy with a lot of free time, however with all of my responsibilities and obligations, I have very busy days and weeks,” Burke said. “I think my family is proud of the work I do, the effort that I put in, and the chasing of the vision of the police department striving to provide high quality law enforcement services to the residents, visitors, and businesses in the Town of Windham.”

He said one thing that the public may not know about his job is that modern day law enforcement takes time.

“Many of the investigations that are done take weeks, if not months to complete, mostly due to the waiting that is necessary for pathology reports, digital evidence reports, as well as testing that is necessary for DNA and drugs,” Burke said. “Despite the way television and movies will portray these processes, it takes time to get the reports back so they can be used in court.”

For Burke, the most important thing he’s learned while working for the Windham Police Department is simple.

“Early in my career, a now retired, police officer told me to never lose the compassion I have for another human being,” he said. “While it did not seem important at the time, it is something that has stuck with me, there have been plenty of opportunities to exercise sympathy, pity, and concern for the misfortunes of others.” <

No comments:

Post a Comment