From Juggling Part-Time Jobs to Becoming a Full-Time Local Deputy
Keith Sterly was working a part-time Marine Patrol job as well as other part-time jobs to make ends meet. He wanted to start in the Police Academy, but wasn’t sure how he’d be able to afford tuition and pay his bills if he was in the academy full-time. Keith stated, “It was a very stressful time for me figuring out if it would all work out for me the way I needed it to.”
After speaking with Michigan Works!, Keith was able to qualify for tuition assistance for the academy, so he didn’t have to take out student loans on top of his already large list of bills. Michigan Works! was also able to help Keith pay for gas to/from the Kirtland Police Academy in Roscommon, as well as new tires for his truck, and help purchasing the required uniforms and boots (at 6’9”, Keith needed sizes that had to be special ordered).
In the academy Keith learned all aspects of the criminal justice field and what the career would entail from hands-on motor vehicle code to first-aid and firearms. He is currently employed as a full-time deputy with the Otsego County Sheriff’s department.
“Personally I enjoyed the hand-on learning aspects and excelled in defensive tactics, firearms and emergency vehicle operations,” states Keith. “I received the award for Top Defensive Tactics Recruit, a Leadership Award, and I received the MCOLES award for the top recruit in the Kirtland Police Academy.”
Keith continues, “Without the help of I received from Michigan Works! I would not have been able to go to this academy. I would have probably waited until next year it would have cost me a lot more money and stress trying to figure it all out. [My Michigan Works! Career Advisor] Kassie was there, readily available for any question I had, and helped me tremendously throughout the entire academy.”
“The main lesson learned was how to get along with people with different points of view during the academy - 14 recruits from all different walks of life,” reflects Keith. “It was 14 different personalities that did not always see eye-to-eye. We pulled together and to get through 17 weeks. I also learned pepper spray is nothing to mess with, puts you down for a good 30 mins.”