Simon Garcia Rocha recalls sitting in the cafeteria at work watching T-V in the months following the attacks of September 11th knowing he wanted to help his country.  He was married with a 3-year old son at home.

"It was kind of a shock for my wife that I would make a decision drastically like that and help serve," Garcia says.  Now, nearly 20 years later, with the world in the midst of another crisis Garcia Rocha says his military background will help him embrace the challenges still to come.  "This is exactly why someone like me would like to serve."

It would seem like his career path has never been too far from adversity.  A year after deploying to Iraq with an Army helicopter assault battalion, Garcia Rocha faced new head winds as the Great Recession of 2008 swept the country.  He was hoping to complete a degree in computer science but found it difficult to pursue as he continued his military service.  As he watched fellow soldiers consider law enforcement careers he decided to pursue the profession himself.

White Bear Lake chief of police Julie Swanson, who has been one of Garcia Rocha's instructors at Century College, says she is most impressed by his ability to maintain a 4.0 GPA while serving in the U.S. Army.  "Simon's military background is impressive.  He brings a wealth of experience in managing personnel, finances and equipment."

Garcia Rocha, who was raised in Mexico and is bilingual, believes his life experience can also help people bridge cultural differences that can sometime leads to difficult police relations.  "Serving in the military and having someone under your care, you realize how someone relies on you to make the right decision.  I hope I can continue to make the best decisions."