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Home : News
NEWS | June 27, 2017

New York military police Soldier finds path to civilian law enforcement career

By Staff Sgt. Michael Davis New York National Guard

CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. – When Sgt. Joseph Selchick was just a boy, he would always dress up for Halloween as either an Army Soldier or a police officer and pretend to save his neighbors from danger.

Almost two decades later, he now wears both uniforms as a professional Guard member and deputy sheriff doing just that.

Selchick, a nine-year military police officer with the 727th Law & 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 that 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.

Born and raised in Rockland County, Selchick said he felt obligated to protect those people he's seen and 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," said Selchick. "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."

In 2014, Selchick was participating in his summer annual training, conducting law enforcement at West Point Military Academy, when he made three felony arrests. Brig. Gen. Michael Swezey, former commander of the 53rd Troop Command, awarded Selchick a challenge coin in recognition of his work.

Despite all of his experience and accolades, 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," said Selchick. "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 already coordinated a training plan to teach his new skills to other Soldiers.

Taking this new training back to my unit will help make us 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," said Selchick. "I know that it's made me a better officer and it will definitely help them, too."