Not many police officers can say they started their career right after high school at their hometown police department.

Not many police officers can say they started their career right after high school at their hometown police department.

At the ripe old age of 19, Central Point's newest and youngest recruit, Derreck Moore, has been a familiar face for the city's police force for more than five years already.

Carefully stepping over rotting mattresses, broken furniture and a dead bird near a foreclosed property just off Pine Street on Friday, Moore marvels at how much variety his job brings each day.

Tackling everything from parking violations and nuisance properties to "animal issues" and calls for service that don't require an armed officer, Moore became the city's newest community service officer after longtime CSO Ron Barnett retired earlier this year.

"I love coming to work every day. I feel very fortunate to be where I'm at right now," said Moore.

Recruited to the city's Explorer Post Program — a community program for youths ages 14 to 21 — in 2008, Moore initially was looking for a way to work 12 hours of community service for a Crater High class dubbed Exploring Careers in Public Service.

"I knew I wanted to be a police officer. And I was just sitting in my living room, and a police car pulled up, and the officer was going to do something at a neighbor's house," he said.

"When she was coming back to her car, I decided to ask about volunteer opportunities."

After being briefed about the Explorer Post, which had been started two years earlier in 2006, Moore went to City Hall the next day and signed on for the experience.

"I said I'd be happy just washing cars, but I guess I ended up doing more than that," he said.

"Last month was five years, and I was hired as the CSO in March."

At 6-feet-4, Moore hardly looks like a recent high school grad.

"When I first met him, I thought, 'Who is this giant kid in our Explorer Post?' " said police service specialist Nikki Petersen. "He has just been awesome ever since he started. I tell all our young Explorers, if they want to know how to do it right, go watch Derreck."

Moore "still comes in on his day off" to volunteer time with the Explorer post, Petersen said.

"He has been the model Explorer, and him working here now is phenomenal. I can't wait to watch him become a police officer one day."

Moore said his favorite part of the job, beyond the variety of calls, is helping his community.

"It's different every day, and I like helping people. I try to make people understand that the city ordinances are there for a reason. So, when I talk to someone in violation of a city ordinance, I always try to explain why I'm there," he said.

Part of Moore's job involves checking on ordinance violations, issuing parking citations and helping with traffic control after accidents. He's also helped add four Neighborhood Watch programs to the city's lineup since summer, and he never knows what will come next.

His most unusual call so far was verifying the proper containment of an alligator.

"You just really never know what each day is going to bring," he said.

Police Chief Kris Allison said Moore quickly distinguished himself with his work ethic and dedication.

"The community service officer is a really important role in our department, and our citizens really rely on someone being able to go out when they need someone right away," she said.

"There's really not a whole lot that the CSO can't be sent out for. The variety of calls ... you could not make some of it up if you tried."

Allison predicted Moore could go far in the city department if he chooses to stick around.

"He was the perfect fit for this position, and he's done very, very well," she said.

"We had a number of applicants, even some from within the department, but he was a really good choice for us and he really brought his A-game. We envision big things for Derreck in the future."

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at