OCC’s new director taught latest LEEP Award recipient
— By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
The new Director of Law Enforcement Training at Oakland Community College enjoyed teaching recent Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Award recipient Alex Linke.
“I taught at the academy for 14 years before I got this job,” said Lt. Dave Ceci. “I teach defensive tactics and physical fitness. I’m with (the cadets) quite a bit. He was a great recruit.”
Linke received a $1,000 LEEP Award upon graduation from the 16-week academy on Dec. 16, 2016. The 29-year-old followed in both of his grandfathers’ footsteps, serving in the military. He was a U.S. Marine from 2007-2013, being deployed to Iraq in 2008. Now he’s planning to pursue a career field his father occupied for a time as a former Detroit Police Reserve Officer.
The LEEP Award is given twice yearly to graduates with the highest overall achievement who have not been sponsored by any police agency. To qualify, the cadets had to pass the MCOLES certification test and meet MCOLES employment standards to become certifiable as law enforcement officers in Michigan.
Ceci, who was hired as the new Director in December 2016 following the retirement of Dick Tillman, described Linke as well-spoken, thoughtful and an overall likeable person. He cited Linke’s physical ability and demeanor as some of his strongest qualities.
“He was in the Marine Corps so I think that helped his leadership ability,” Ceci said. “He’s intelligent and physically able to do everything. He was respected by his peers.”
As Squad Leader of the class of 27 cadets, Linke was responsible for making sure his squad was properly dressed in their uniforms and ensuring they were in the proper formation when they arrived in the morning. He made sure his squad followed orders of the staff, among other duties.
“If the director has an issue with what his people are doing, they go to the Squad Leader,” Ceci said.
Linke began working in loss prevention for Sears in 2010, while he was a Marine Reserve, until he was hired as Oakland University Police IT Specialist in January 2015. “I saw the position open and it was basically a foot in the door,” Linke said. “It showed my interest on the law enforcement side of things.”
“They needed someone specifically dedicated to the (surveillance) camera system,” Linke said, adding that he had plenty of experience working loss prevention at Sears watching for and then apprehending shoplifters. “We started to move toward remote access to watch store cameras from home. I was area manager for Sears, which segued me into IT.”
“We have approximately 600 cameras on campus,” Linke said, adding that he worked to create a baseline for OU’s security system by providing regular maintenance. ”I was very hands on repairing the systems. I knew cameras even though I had no IT experience.”
He continued to work the full-time IT job nights and weekends while going through the academy, supplementing lost work time through use of vacation time when needed.
With all his experience and a drive to succeed, it’s no wonder Linke was also awarded a Physical Fitness scholarship, which Ceci funds on behalf of OCC Police Academy, and the Sgt. James Collins Memorial Scholarship from the Collins family, based on leadership and military service.
“Basically, whatever I spent out of pocket they refunded,” said Linke of the awards combined with funds from the GI Bill. “It gave me a zero balance.”
After graduating, he remained at OU hoping a sworn officer position would open up. “I wasn’t able to transition over to patrol side. I had to look at other departments,” Linke said.
One of his academy classmates heard about an opening in Birmingham and recommended Linke for the job. He was hired and began working as a Birmingham Police Officer in late February 2017.
“I’ve always had an interest and a knack for (law enforcement) and, after my time in the Marine Corps, I knew I wanted to continue down that service route,” Linke said. “This was an easy choice for me to make my career in law enforcement. It’s the closest transition from military to civilian.”