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Posted to Positives within Your City by Michael Churchill
Ever since I was a little kid I dreamt of becoming a Police Officer. When I first came to Colorado, I was amazed by the mountains, the way of life and the kindness of its people. As life took its turn, I came to live in the town of Rifle; As years flew by I stayed local until it was my time to serve my country in the U.S Marine Corps. Now, as my Four-Year enlistment comes to an end, I would be honored to come back and serve and protect the property and lives of both citizens and guest of Rifle Colorado.
Even before I left for my service, I knew, Rifle would be the town I would come back to and raise a family. Coming back to Rifle and seeing how fast it is growing and all the changes that come with a growing town, it is tough to see that drugs, theft and crime is also growing. Giving back to this community and having an impact on the positive changes will be a great satisfaction. Knowing that the community feels safe and protected when they see us patrolling the town and responding to their calls for assistance.
It would be an honor not only to be a part of this community, but also to be part of the great men and women that protect it. I am excited to have the opportunity to serve with helpful, knowledgeable and experienced officers; This will help me learn and grow as a person and as a police officer. Serving along with team oriented officers, that are doing everything in their hands to promote the peace, safety and the well-being of the Rifle community is what encourages me to be part of the Rifle Police Department. The Rifle Police Department offers many opportunities for me to continue to learn and progress professionally.
The experience I have gained while serving my country has given me the confidence I needed to become a police officer. It helped me to mature so much more and acquire skills such as; leadership, personnel management, decision making and critical thinking under stressful situations. I also possess an extensive knowledge of ground patrolling, security, surveillance, data collection, marksmanship and detainee handling. Skills that will help me better serve and protect the citizens of this city. While I was in the service I traveled to many countries and different parts of the United States. It was then that I saw that our presence makes people feel safe and protected.
Coming back to Rifle Colorado, I look forward to working for the Police Department, helping the men and women of this great department serve and protect this community. Knowing that the citizens of Rifle feel safe when they see us patrolling, assisting, interacting, and responding to their calls for assistance is a great satisfaction. Same satisfaction I had when I served and deployed with the U.S Marine Corps. I am excited to get a chance to work along the great man and women of this Department and have an impact on the positive change of this town.
Posted to Rifle Rapport (CT articles) by Michael Churchill
At first sight, Josh Uhernik looks like he walked straight off of the cover of a body building magazine. Physically imposing, you might be inclined to attribute certain stereotypes to him and assume that his personality is gruff, unsociable or swaggering. Or that his only interest is in the gym. You would be very, very wrong.
Josh grew up in western Pennsylvania. He attended college in West Virginia receiving bachelor degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education. Yep, you read that correctly. Josh Uhernik was a special education teacher. The job was extremely rewarding, but his last teaching job was in a very bad neighborhood. He noticed that his students had a very difficult time readjusting to school after the weekend.
“I was seeing firsthand how crimes were affecting my students. I thought that there must be something more I can do for these kids.” That insight led Josh to decide that he could make a greater impact by becoming a police officer. In 2008, he was accepted into the police academy.
After working as an officer outside of the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Josh decided that he needed a change. He had always wanted to live in Colorado and moved straight to Rifle, sight unseen. After working in both Aspen and Silt, he jumped when the opportunity arose to work in the town where he resides with his wife and three kids.
“I’ve had family and neighbors who have been victims of crimes so I really wanted to be able to patrol where I live,” he explained. “It is very rewarding being able to interact and protect the community and be a role model for kids. It’s great to know that you are making a difference. Working with smaller agencies is more family-like.”
This dedication to kids and community began back in 2009 in Pennsylvania when he founded a junior police academy, Camp B.A.D.G.E. (https://www.facebook.com/CampBadge/). B.A.D.G.E. is an acronym for BRAVERY, ADAPTABILITY, DETERMINATION, GOOD PHYSICAL CONDITION and EDUCATION. The goal of the camp is to counter any bad publicity about police officers and create strong connections between officers and citizens. The camps, which have spread nationwide, focus on grades 3-9 which Josh explains is a great age to have some influence. Participants are taught the qualities which will make them good citizens or police officers.
The camp is held in two separate sessions, each one week long. The kids get uniforms donated by Under Armour, 511 Tactical and Relentless Defender. There are sessions of both physical fitness as well as classroom time. Topics range from gun safety and first aid to how to recognize dangerous situations. They often take field trips to the jail and gun range and have the opportunity to see helicopters and other police equipment. Graduates receive a certificate.
When Josh talks about Camp B.A.D.G.E. his entire face lights up. He gets a huge genuine smile and a twinkle in his eye. You can tell that this is a labor of love and a great source of pride. He is hoping that he will have sessions in both Silt and Rifle this year.
In his free time, he enjoys fishing, camping, working out and spending time with his family. It’s easy to see why he came to Rifle. His new family of Rifle police officers agree.
“Officer Uhernik comes to our team with a great deal of law enforcement training and experience. He has worked in law enforcement for over 11 years, beginning his career with agencies in Pennsylvania and most recently serving with the Silt Police Department where he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. We are very fortunate to have him on board,” stated Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein.
When you see Josh Uhernik patrolling our city, be sure to say hello. He would love to meet you. But you may not want to challenge him to arm wrestle!
Rifle Rapport is a periodic article featuring the people and projects of the City of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact City of Rifle Public