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Local man starts new career as state trooper

November 30, 2018
By JESSE ADCOCK - For the News ( , Lake Placid News

One of the 158 new members of the New York State Police is a Saranac Lake resident. His name is Joseph Akey, graduate of the 207th session of the Basic School of the New York State Police Academy.

He is now based out of the State Police's Tupper Lake barracks. He said knowing the demographics he's going to serve is a bonus in his favor as a young patrolman.

"There's a lot of people that I graduated with that are three, four hours away from their home, so they're learning roads, what kind of economy, what kind of people you're dealing with," Akey said, "that kind of thing."

Article Photos

News photo — Jesse Adcock
Newly graduated New York State Police officer Joseph Akey poses in front of his post in Tupper Lake on Nov. 20.

Akey, 32, grew up in AuSable Forks as one of four kids. He attended Catholic school in Plattsburgh throughout his childhood. Attending North Country Community College in the mid-2000s, Akey decided to stay there - working in admissions and as a basketball coach for a decade.

He said that experience - doing data entry in an office, working to educate people about financial aid options, and talking with athletes and students - prepared him to be an excellent communicator in his new role.

"I interacted with a lot of families really just educating people on options," Akey said of his time working in financial aid at NCCC. "So it's no different; it's just a different venue of doing it - trying to come up with those same solutions."

Akey said he applied to the academy after a friend, a sergeant at Ray Brook, mentioned the many service, promotional and special assignments opportunities the agency provided.

"I took the test six years ago, in 2012," Akey said. The State Police Academy offers an entrance exam every four years. Akey waited six years between taking the test and enrolling - on an eligibility list that, as of 2017, contained 13,000 candidates.

Besides being grateful for the short commute between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake, Akey said he's glad to be near his kids: aged 12, 11 and 3.

"There were people with children my children's age that were sent hours and hours and hours away from their house," Akey said. "And you know, I'm 20 minutes away. So it's a blessing. We're very fortunate. Definitely happy about that."

While on the job, Akey said he'd be locked in and focused on law enforcement, but spending time with his family is his priority.

"The goal is to be a dad when I'm there," Akey said. "Try to do some nice things for my kids and create some good memories. Like my parents were able to do for us. Honestly, if I don't do that, then what I've done here is kind of null and void. That's just the way I view it, personally."

He acknowledged the new job is as much a community service position as it is to enforce Vehicle and Traffic Law, and there are going to be times "when you're just going to flat-out help people because they need your assistance," Akey said. "Lot of different hats, I guess you'd say.

"It's just an incredible opportunity to help a lot of different people in a lot of different areas, and I'm all about that," Akey added. "My family was very much a family of service."

Akey said his family does have a legacy of working in law enforcement, although it didn't play a role in his decision because he only found out the details a month before the academy. His great-grandfather, Daniel Buckley, was one of the original 237 state police officers in the agency's 1917 founding.

Nowadays, to become a state trooper, accepted applicants must undergo 26 weeks of live-in training at the academy in Albany. During that schooling, applicants like Akey receive 1,095 hours of training by law enforcement professionals.

Following that, at the stage where Akey is now, officers must complete a 10-week field training and evaluation program where they complete daily assignments alongside veteran troopers.

Akey will then work for one year as a probationary trooper before being certified as New York state trooper.

"So this is a platform that I can really do a lot of good for a lot of different people, probably more than any other career that I can think of," Akey said. "I'm really excited about this opportunity. I waited six years for it."



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