Many who serve in the military return home and begin careers in law enforcement. Cleveland Police officer Josh Hodge says that it is a natural progression, and one he’s found to be as …
Many who serve in the military return home and begin careers in law enforcement. Cleveland Police officer Josh Hodge says that it is a natural progression, and one he’s found to be as rewarding.
Hodge, who recently received the 2017 Officer of the Year during the CPD’s Annual Awards luncheon, said the similarity in serving in the U.S. Marines and the police department is easy to see.
“It’s about service — service to my community,” said the 30-year-old Hodge, who has worked with the CPD for about 2 1/2 years. “I have served my country globally and I wanted to carry that over to the civilian sector.”
Hodge admitted it was a bit difficult transitioning from the military to working as a civilian police officer. Earlier he had been with the McMinn County Sheriff’s Office, where he spent about six months in the corrections division.
“It was hard, because in the military, well, that’s a very close brotherhood, and that brotherhood is forged in traumatic events,” he stated. He added that there is a brotherhood among police officers, as well.
“We do have a handful of veterans here,” Hodge said. “In my opinion, law enforcement is the closest thing in the civilian sector that you can get to still being a part of that. It will never be the same, but it is the closest.
“The struggle to coming to the civilian side is that nobody in the public or your family really understand you, save for other veterans who have the same experiences,” he added.
“You have a support system at home, but you can’t expect anyone to understand your experience unless they have been there,” Hodge continued.
He joined the Marines because he wanted to serve his country, his nation and his community.
He had trained at Camp Pendleton, California, then served in Okinawa, Japan, and eventually at Desert Storm in Iraq.
“I started off as an artilleryman, and we had responsibility for our own station,” Hodge said. He said that being a rifleman with the Marines was something new to him, as he did not grow up shooting firearms or hunting.
Still, he did what he was told to do, in the Marine way.
“It’s remarkable what you are capable of when you don’t have a choice,” Hodge said. “I have seen guys who were not as intimidating as a hiccup, but I have seen them do some amazing things.”
He said that he has seen that ability as a police officer with his fellow law enforcement men and women.
One of his closest friends, who he still confides to as far as his military service, is a police officer in Georgia.
Hodge is known by his fellow officers as a policeman with a heart. He has actually provided funds for some who are down on their luck.
“Generally, when you call us, you are not having your best day, and we are handling people when they are at their worst and we need to be at our best,” he said. “When they see our uniform and a badge, we hope that is a beacon of hope for them.”
The Walker Valley High School graduate said he loves being back in Cleveland, and knows he and his fellow police officers do a necessary job in the city. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
“They are there because they want to serve,” Hodge said of his fellow Marines, and of other law enforcement personnel.
Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE
Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE
We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.
If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.
Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE