ORANGE PARK – For 11 months, Shelby Martin’s workday started at 7:30 a.m. and it didn’t end until 10 p.m. After that, she faced a 25-mile drive home – only to wake up and do it all over again …
ORANGE PARK – For 11 months, Shelby Martin’s workday started at 7:30 a.m. and it didn’t end until 10 p.m. After that, she faced a 25-mile drive home – only to wake up and do it all over again the next day.
But she never considered giving up. That’s how much she wanted to be a cop.
Martin will trade her animal services and code compliance credentials at the Orange Park Police Department for a police officer badge in the next few days.
“There were eight of us in that night class and we all had full-time jobs during the day,” Martin said. “Actually, it’s what most police officers do. It’s long hours, but it’s worth it. All I want to do is be a police officer.”
Martin worked until 3:30 p.m. at Orange Park and her law enforcement certification class at the Florida State College-Jacksonville North Campus’ Northeast Florida Criminal Justice Center went from 6-10 p.m.
According to the college, the Florida Law Enforcement Academy Career Certificate provides students with exceptional law enforcement learning opportunities in subjects including evidence gathering, investigation and criminal law, traffic control, patrol procedures and weaponry training based on requirements of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Once completed, students are fully prepared for state certification exams and law enforcement jobs with state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies.
Chief Gary Goble praised her commitment to juggling both work and school. He will get to pen a badge on her, most likely during the Town Council meeting on Tuesday.
Martin said she was encouraged by Goble and other officers during the past 11 months.
“They gave me a lot of support,” she said.
After spending months training, she’s ready to start patrolling Orange Park. And getting some extra sleep.
“What was difficult was the amount of time it took – being there until 10 (p.m.),” Martin said. “But a lot of my co-workers here did the same thing. It was a huge sacrifice, but it’s what a lot of police officers have to do. But I’m glad it’s over. I’m ready to start.”
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