There’s a new avenue for Fort Drum soldiers to transition from the military to law enforcement. Oneida County is offering a program allowing active-duty soldiers to start an internship with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office 60 to 90 days before their active duty is over.
Coming from a family of military members, joining the Army was something Jay-Cee Miller always wanted to do.
“It was always like a dream of mine,” he said.
As Miller nears the end of his active duty, he wants to continue following in his dad and brother’s footsteps and get into law enforcement. Oneida County just made that a lot easier for Fort Drum soldiers like Miller.
“I just was going through all my classes on transitioning and I came across this program, and I was like, ‘Oh this is right up my alley.’,” said Specialist Jay-Cee Miller.
The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office is taking part in the Department of Defense’s SkillBridge Program, offering internships to soldiers stationed at Fort Drum.
“It’s crazy to me that I’m still being paid full, and I’m coming here. I’m learning about a new career,” Miller said.
This is one of only two SkillBridge programs in the country offering internships in law enforcement. Oneida County’s came from the hopes of one of their own Army veterans in the department.
“We’re helping ourselves out but we’re also helping out the veterans of our country,” said Oneida County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Carey Phair.
Sergeant Carey Phair said his connections made through his military service helped make the internships possible. The hope is that the soldiers will eventually work for the sheriff’s office.
“It is a business as you’d say where you have to make decisions on a quick basis, and have to make the right decisions. So having people that have had high stress situations in their life, transitioning in here, knowing that there’s structure, and knowing that there’s stress makes it sort of easier,” Phair said.
As for Miller, he’s excited for this opportunity and hopes to work in law enforcement, continuing to share in the brotherhood-dynamic.
“Like if we’re in a bad situation like we’re in this together, and that’s how the military is too. That’s what law enforcement brings to it and I would love to join,” Miller said.
This program is also seen as a chance to take steps toward filling vacancies at the sheriff’s office. Oneida County Sheriff’s Office staff hope the program will expand and involve other military installations.