By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers
Clovis police officer David Wetmore will trade the halls of Yucca Junior High for the deserts of Iraq this fall.
An Air National Guard technical sergeant and a school resource officer with the Clovis Police Department, Wetmore will be deploying with his Albuquerque unit in coming months.
Juggling the two careers can be challenging but rewarding, said Wetmore, who’s been with the police department more than four years.
“Sometimes it can be difficult, but the police department’s been very supportive of everything I’ve done,” he said.
Clovis Police Capt. Patrick Whitney said over the years many members of the police force have served double duty in military reserve units. The department gives them 15 days a year to report for reserve duty.
“It hurts our manpower and our manning, but nonetheless we’re going to support them,” Whitney said.
An armament weapons specialist, Wetmore said it will be his second deployment to Iraq in three years.
He expects to be there approximately four months.
“I’m interested in seeing the changes that have taken place since I was last there,” he said.
Military life was a natural fit for him, the 35-year-old said, explaining service is a family tradition.
The Toledo, Ohio, native served 10 years active duty in the Navy, transferred to Air Force Reserves, and then two years later, the Air National Guard.
Police work suits him, too, he said, explaining the careers are similar.
There is a chain of command, and training is constant, he said.
And there’s always paperwork. “That never goes away,” he said, laughing.
He enjoys law enforcement because of the daily challenges and diversity, he said.
And he loves his job as a school resource officer because he’s able protect, support and mentor students.
“It’s a fun job, working with the kids. You get to make a difference. They can see that cops aren’t those mean guys all the time,” Wetmore said.
Maintaining an open-door policy, Wetmore keeps a collection of toy police cars and a full candy dish in his office at the school.
Some students tell him they will miss him and to be careful. Others have expressed opposition to the war, saying they wish American military members didn’t have to be there, he said.