Salyer’s Journey of Justice


Courtesy of Jim Salyer

DBHS Administration of Justice teacher Jim Salyer served in the Vietnam War and afterwards as a California Highway Patrol officer, starting from 1971.

Catherine Zhang, Asst. Feature Editor

Serving in the Vietnam War and as a California Highway Patrol officer, Diamond Bar High School Administration of Justice teacher Jim Salyer, has devoted himself to the law—whether it be teaching about justice, or enforcing it.

Salyer’s history with wanting to serve can be traced back to his youth, when he joined the military after he graduated high school in 1964.

He trained at Ft. Ord in California, Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri, and then at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for officer candidate school.

“Training was hard in that you had to pursue the daily routines, [which] required a lot of physical stamina. They kept you so busy, you didn’t have time to think about much besides the training,” Salyer said.

During his time at Ft. Sill, Salyer was sent to Vietnam, where he spent a year stationed at combat base Camp Carroll as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S Army Artillery.

Part of his duties included keeping watch on the fort, calling in artillery strikes and plotting data that would be sent to the guns to fire rounds on targets.

After being honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant after completing his service, he worked as a California Highway Patrol Officer starting from 1971. Salyer had various duties, which ranged from helping stranded motorists to delivering gas to cars with no fuel. As much as he enjoyed his profession, he retired in 1984, after being hit by a drunk driver.

During a traffic stop, Salyer was talking with a truck driver when he noticed an out of control motorist speeding toward them. Without hesitation, he quickly pushed the driver out of the way but ended up sustaining major injuries to his elbow and knee. In a period of two and a half years, four CHP officers were hit by drunk drivers in the same area. Salyer was the only survivor.

“I was the only one who survived, the other three were friends of mine, so I felt very fortunate to be the survivor out of the four that were struck,” Salyer said.

Salyer considers regimentation of the CHP and military quite similar, as it involves a lot of physical training and stress-induced practices. He claims that being able to remain calm in a stressful situation is key to both the military and the CHP.

After retiring in 1984, Salyer obtained his teaching credential for social science and began teaching World and U.S. History at DBHS, and has continued with Administration of Justice, a course he has been teaching for over 30 years now.

“I enjoy being able to impart on knowledge and experience I’ve had in my lifetime. I don’t think too many people can say that they had the same kind of experiences I had. Being able to share a lot of those life experiences and see how the students react to it is pretty gratifying,” Salyer said.

Salyer’s ROP Administration of Justice class is an introduction to various laws and crimes, and also gives insight on the many branches of professions that involve law enforcement.

The teacher also brings in various guest speakers from agencies such as the U.S. Marshall, the Secret Service and the FBI as well as local sheriffs, police sergeants, and military branches.

“I think that I’m able to get students a different perspective of how our law enforcement and community works. It makes them better at understanding before they judge what [they] might see in the media.”