SHERIDAN — A total of 11 Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office deputies and 13 Sheridan Police Department officers served in the military before transitioning into law enforcement. Every one of those veterans tells different stories of how he or she became a law enforcement officer, but two things remain across experiences — they all took uniformed jobs to continue a life of service to others, and the camaraderie among teammates keeps them going every day.
SPD Officer Nevada Krinkee spent eight years in the U.S. Army as airborne infantry. While deployed in Afghanistan, part of Krinkee’s job was to protect children going to and from school.
“Some of the things I experienced overseas made me want to make a difference in my community,” Krinkee said. “…Now those kids can grow up and make a difference in their country, so I wanted to be able to do that but here in the United States.”
Similarly, SPD officer and former Marine Aaron Hartman joined the military and entered into law enforcement for the same reason — to help people.
“It’s a different scope because you get to interact with people (in law enforcement), where in the military you’re just a member of a bigger entity,” Hartman said.
SCSO Deputy Erick Horsley lived as a Marine for 12 years, and has learned to appreciate serving small and large groups of Americans.
“You go from military where you’re doing something for the country, now you’re doing something for the community on a smaller span,” Horsley said.
The acts of service completed daily can only be done through teamwork, and the women and men wearing military and law enforcement uniforms know the benefits of a support system.
“Once you fall into a family-type work environment, that’s what you look for when you look for jobs,” former sailor and current Deputy Jake Blumenstock said.
SCSO Sgt. Robert Morgan agreed, saying there is a certain level of understanding among uniformed professionals that carries through the two entities.
“It’s hard to come by (the camaraderie) in a non-uniformed job,” Krinkee said. “…They’re your brothers and sisters in arms. The camaraderie was the most similar thing (between the military and law enforcement).”
Similarities between life in the military and civilian law enforcement ease the veterans in unique ways. Days off come as a relief to Hartman.
After the excitement of two deployments to Kuwait and Bahrain for seven or eight months apiece, the hustle of deputy duties helped Blumenstock back into a way of life familiar and comfortable to him.
Despite the often negative feelings about ironing, Deputy Kody Lamb, who was a soldier in the Army for four years, isn’t sure what life is like not ironing a uniform before heading to his job.
The day-to-day processes, chain of command, team atmosphere and purpose to serve make the law enforcement uniforms slide on and button up easily.
Despite differences in journeys, ranks, branches or time spent in the armed forces, the group of men and women who fought to protect the nation and now protect the community of Sheridan appreciate the camaraderie of uniformed work.