- Associated Press - Sunday, August 16, 2015

ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. (AP) - Halifax County Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Clark is moving from the streets to the hallways of Roanoke Rapids High School recently as he hangs up his brown sheriff’s hat in exchange for a post as a teacher for a new program.

“Fourteen-and-a-half years I’ve been in law enforcement, so this is definitely a change for me,” said Clark. ” I’ve been teaching in some capacity for the past several years and it has become a passion of mine. I’ve been teaching adults for 3.5 years or so (as a training officer for the sheriff’s office), but I know teaching teenagers will be a completely different experience.”

He was a student here himself not long ago and said being back in his old stomping ground on the other side of the desk would take a little getting used to.

“It’s very weird,” he said. “Things have changed around here, but when I walk in the old building, it still brings back lot of fond memories.”

Clark decided to come back to his alma mater as a teacher because he said he wanted to make a difference in children’s lives and build up the new public safety career and technical program.

“Most people ask me why I decided to change careers halfway through one,” he said with a chuckle. “A lot of it is, when you look at multiple theories of juvenile delinquency. a lot of it has to do with who your mentors are, who your role models are and this is an opportunity for me to be able to be a role model to a lot of these kids.”

In his time in law enforcement, he has worked for the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, dispatch and the Roanoke Rapids Police Department. He said he became a field training officer in 2006 and then caught the bug for teaching.

“I’ve enjoyed teaching these newly-hired officers right out of (basic law enforcement training). I’ve enjoyed teaching them, training them, and trying to mold them into better officers,” he added.

His new position will involve him teaching a classroom of Roanoke Rapids high schoolers about careers in public safety that range from firefighting and law enforcement to paralegal work and corrections.

He said the course is designed to let teens explore and research options for their futures. Later he said he hopes they can grow the program to include specific training like emergency medical services.

Aside from the opportunity to teach children, Clark said a highlight of the career move was a calmer schedule and more time with his family.

“Now I don’t have to leave home and wonder if these are the last hugs I’ll give or whether I’ll come home at the end of the day,” he said. “I spend more time with my wife and children. Pretty much my entire household will be on the same schedule.”

His wife said it was bittersweet to see him leave the work he has done for so long with a what she called a “great group of guys.”

“The guys he worked with are like a second family,” Mandy Clark said. “But I’m really excited he’ll be able to be at every game and every dance recital. He’s always done his best to be there, but when you’re on call, you can’t always make it. Now, we won’t have to compromise on those things.”


Information from: Daily Herald, https://www.rrdailyherald.com/

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