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Face of Defense: Soldier Finds Path to Law Enforcement Career

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael Davis New York National Guard

CAMP SMITH TRAINING SITE, Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., July 14, 2017 — When Army Sgt. Joseph Selchick was a boy, he would dress up for Halloween as either a soldier or a police officer and pretend to save his neighbors from danger.

Almost two decades later, he now wears both uniforms as a member of the New York Army National Guard and as a deputy sheriff.

Selchick, a nine-year military police officer with the 727th Law and Order Detachment, New York Army National Guard, graduated from the sheriff’s academy on June 23, 2017, and is now a deputy sheriff with the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department.

After waiting four years for the next available civil service exam, Selchick scored a 90 percent in 2012, a grade which would have allowed him to take a position sooner, but in a community farther from home. So, he waited for the right opportunity to serve locally.

Protecting Others

Born and raised in Rockland County, Selchick said he felt obligated to protect the people he’s known his entire life.

“There’s nothing better than being able to protect your home -- where you grew up,” Selchick said.

The 20-week long academy, which was staffed by former Marines, Army Rangers, Special Forces and former FBI agents, wasn’t as daunting for Selchick as it was for some of the other recruits.

Selchick credits his Army National Guard training with not only feeling more confident when preparing for the academy, but also with the skills and experience needed to excel.

“Seventy-five percent of the academy was shooting, car stops and cuffing,” Selchick said. “I’ve not only been trained on these tasks, but I’ve actually done all of them in the Guard; I had a huge advantage.”

Despite his experience, there was still plenty of room to learn new techniques.

“My favorite part was being on the range and learning to shoot from different angles … on our backs and even through our legs,” Selchick said. “You can never get enough training.”

He’s not keeping that new training to himself. Selchick was in touch with his unit throughout his time at the academy and has coordinated a training plan to teach his new skills to other soldiers.

Taking this new training back to his unit will help make it more effective in domestic and deployed environments, Selchick said.

“My advice to anyone who wants to become a police officer is to join the Guard, first,” he said. “I know that it’s made me a better officer.”