A former Seymour Middle School teacher has stepped out of the classroom to take on a new job as a police officer.
Jeremy Helmsing, 35, originally from Connersville, spent six years as an English teacher and track coach, but it is his 16 and counting years in the military that led to his decision to apply for a position at the Seymour Police Department.
Helmsing became the department’s 40th officer when he was sworn in by Mayor Craig Luedeman during a board of public works and safety meeting Oct. 13. His first day on the job was Oct. 17.
In addition to a local pre-basic law enforcement course and training, he will attend the Indiana Police Academy for 15 weeks and then spend 12 weeks with field training officers for on-the-job training.
“Because of my time in the military, I’ve always been interested in a career in law enforcement to some extent,” he said.
He also believes he can make a difference in people’s lives and help them in ways he is currently unable to do.
“I feel like there are just a lot of people out there that are hurting in one way or another,” he said. “You see it in the news every day as society seems to be in a constant state of turmoil.”
Helmsing has served in the U.S. Army and Navy Reserve and is currently an Army Reserve Team Officer In Charge for a training division out of Indianapolis.
Being in the military has afforded him opportunities to attend several schools and training programs to study everything from leadership to marksmanship, both key skills needed in the law enforcement field, he said.
He’s been deployed overseas twice in combat zones, serving in critical, high-stress environments; another experience he will be able to use in his new career.
But not all of his workplace skills were learned in the military, he added.
“I feel like my time in the classroom taught me how to interact with a wide variety of people and how to handle many interpersonal issues,” he said.
He is looking forward to meeting more people in the community and experiencing the variety that law enforcement offers.
“I’ve always enjoyed thinking on my feet and having some unexpected variety in my day,” he said. “That is exactly why I gravitated to teaching, specifically in the middle school setting.”
He plans to use his new position to continue to work with area youth to help them overcome obstacles in their lives.
“I feel personally vested in the welfare of this community,” he said.
As a teacher, Helmsing said he would see students that he couldn’t reach because of struggles they faced outside of school in areas completely out of his control.
“You have your success stories, but several students go home each day to unspeakable issues,” he said. “I always wanted to somehow work on these root issues because if you don’t get to the root of a problem, it is so difficult to make lasting positive progress.”
Helmsing knows being a police officer won’t be easy. It means time away from his wife and their two young children, working long hours on night shift and holidays.
But with challenges come rewards too, he added.
“The biggest reward will be interacting with people and serving the community in a direct and immediate capacity with a great group of people,” he said.
Although he has enjoyed his time in the classroom with students and other teachers, Helmsing said it was time to put his interests and talents to work in a different way.
“I feel like I have made an impact as a teacher, but I also feel like there are glaring issues out there that I simply cannot impact from behind my desk in a classroom,” he said. “To me, that is what life is about. Using your talents and doing what you can to make the world a better place.”
Job: Newest officer at Seymour Police Department
Family: Wife, Marykate; daughter, Emma; and son, Owen.
Education/Work experience: Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education – English from Indiana University; 16 years military service: Active Army, Navy Reserve and currently an Army Reserve Officer; 6 years service as a middle school English teacher and track coach in both Connersville and Seymour.
Hobbies/Interests: spending time with family, shooting handguns semi-competitively and fishing