“It’s (SJVC) not a Mickey Mouse type of school,” he attests. “What they say, they back up. They produce results, and I’m an example of that.”
A career in law enforcement was never something Frank seriously considered, but when he went with his wife, Heather, to check out SJVC’s Medical Assisting program, he ended up taking a CJC pamphlet home. Within a month, he was in.
“I took a risk by terminating my employment and being a full-time student,” says Frank. “And, after graduation there was no guarantee of a job.”
School was a huge adjustment for Frank and his family. Finances were beyond tight, and Frank struggled to find a working balance between life as a student and his family responsibilities, which included daughter, Alexus and soon-to-arrive, son, Landon.
“It was difficult not having an income and adjusting to doing homework and making sure family is taken care of,” says Frank. “Heather was my rock and basically there for me through the hard times.”
As a 4-year Navy veteran Frank knew all about discipline. He had worked on fighter aircraft, Boeing 707’s – the big planes – that required precise technical skills and discipline. But, unable to get a job in that field after his military discharge, he resorted to driving a truck hauling manure for his cousin’s company. All roads pointed toward higher education.
“The VA (Veteran’s Administration) paid for my schooling,” says Frank. He was going to make the most of it.
Frank and CJC Program Director, Donald Martin, hit it off right away. “I could come to him on anything I needed, and because he was working in the field he helped me with anything work-related,” he says. “I don’t think that if I hadn’t had him, I would be where I am today.”
It went both ways. “Frank was a dedicated, hardworking student who focused his natural leadership skills that came through in the classroom and the academy,” says Donald Martin. “I am very proud of him.”
Since completion of the CJC program a little over two years ago, Frank is with the same employer that snapped him up just after his graduation. He is a Deputy Sheriff, Custodial, with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.
SJVC’s CJC academy provides POST (Peace Officers Standard of Training) certification that put grads ahead of the competition. Law enforcement agencies save the cost and time of providing this mandatory training for new-hires, when they bring a SJVC grad on board.
“Other programs didn’t stack up to what SJVC offered,” says Frank. “Instead of just getting a piece of paper that said you completed the course, I got POST certified; that’s what drew me to this program.”
Now, Frank is doing exactly what he was well-trained – and certified – to do: protect and serve the community in which he lives by controlling some of the elements that threaten it.
His 48-plus hours each week find him deep into everything connected to inmates in the county jail system. “We are watching inmates, transporting them to court appearances, writing incident reports, responding to inmate seizures and handling fights in the unit, with the use of force when necessary, to control the situation,” says Frank. “It’s definitely interesting, and there’s never a dull moment when you work in the custodial sector.”
You have to be watchful, wary and ready to respond, especially since the state mandated that prisons would reduce their inmate population overflow by transferring many prisoners to county jails.
“These individuals are a different breed,” explains Frank. “Many of them are lifers and don’t have anything to lose. They are high-ranking gang members, training their new foot soldiers as to how they do things in prison; how they manipulate things and get around the system.”
It is a whole new game, and Frank is always pushing to stay on top of the evolution, in part through continued education. He is about six months away from earning his BA degree, and hopes to resume his studies soon.
Frank is motivated to reach higher to show his family, which now includes son Maddox, what hard work and dedication can accomplish.
“I was the first to go on to college in my family,” says Frank, whose father had to go to work after high school to support the family. “I want my kids to have good core values, and me going to SJVC will show them you can do anything you want in life so long as you put a lot into it.”