HOWARD, Wis. (WBAY) - The Green Bay Police Department held a special ceremony for a police recruit academy graduate on Friday.
Marco Rodriguez gets sworn in by Green Bay Police Chief, Andrew Smith.
Next week, Marco Rodriguez will be deployed to Afghanistan for one year. To let him know he's got a job when he returns, GBPD wanted to swear him in before his deployment.
The ceremony was held at the Universal Driving Academy in Howard.
Officer Rodriguez is a graduate of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College's Police Recruit Academy and an active member of the Army National Guard.
"He's always willing to help anyone and any need or anything. He just cares so much about people and he’s such a protector that I'm like, this is right up his alley," said Marco’s wife, Kelley Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was the Green Bay Police Department's most desired recruit due to his high exam scores, good character and interview skills.
"He's got to impress the Police and Fire Commission, because ultimately they hire him, so when they heard him answer the questions that they asked him, he was right on top of the list, so I couldn't be happier," said Police Chief Andrew Smith.
Rodriguez was joined by his family and classmates as he dedicated himself to being a Green Bay police officer before his deployment to Afghanistan. Others in the police academy won't be sworn in until later this month.
"It really means a lot. My wife's here, my family's here, even my wife's parents are here, and just the support of my classmates, they could've left early but they're here to just to support me and it's really meaningful," said Marco Rodriguez.
"He's worked so incredibly hard the last couple months, so I'm just really excited and very happy for him," said his wife.
The Green Bay Police Department says while Rodriguez is away on his one year deployment, they'll be holding his police officer position until his safe return home.
As the country prepares to thank and honor current and past military members this Veterans Day weekend, Rodriguez says he couldn't feel more fulfilled serving his country and the Green Bay community.
"Being part of that team aspect and actually doing a bigger mission really, I think it fulfills for me, and really it just helps me learn a lot, too, things that I wouldn't typically learn," Rodriguez says.
"Really, for someone to serve in the military and the police department, it's like being twice the citizen, I think," adds Chief Smith.