Matthias Sheedy in 2007 (L) and 2013 (R).

“My Transition” #8: Matthias Sheedy — Army Infantry to Local Police Officer

Matt has always had a strong desire to serve; in fact, it’s a family tradition. Despite leaving the military, Matt continues to serve.

I think I was blessed to meet a bunch of veterans shortly after I got out to help me through the transition and to point me in the right directions. But one tough thing to do, that majority of veterans are faced with, was just the adjustment into normal civilian lifestyle.

SF Bay Area, California— For some people, the call to service runs in their blood. That’s the story for Matt, who followed the footsteps of his father and grandfathers. Although he’s rather quiet and humble about his service, the story he tells here makes it quite clear that this is a man you want on your team.

DJS: Why did you join the military?

MS:

I joined the military right after high school at the age of 17. I was a freshman in high school when 9–11 happened and after that, I knew I wanted to serve, as a grunt. Also, I have a lot of family members who have served in the US Military in the past wars. My great grandpa served in WW1, one grandpa served in WW2 and Korea, the other served in Vietnam and my dad was in the Marines in the 80’s. So I kept up the family tradition.

I was a freshman in high school when 9–11 happened and after that, I knew I wanted to serve… I kept up the family tradition.

DJS: What were the most important skills or lessons that you learned?

MS:

The most important lesson I learned is to never give up, even when times are tough, keep going.

Never give up!

DJS: Did you know what you were going to do when you got out?

MS:

Ever since high school I had an idea I wanted to become a police officer and I knew when I got out of the military I was going to work towards that goal.

DJS: How did you make it onto the Police Department? What was that like?

MS:

I was lucky to get hired with the local Police Department. I was a Police Explorer with them while in high school and kept in contact with a lot of the officers who helped me out over the years.

DJS: What made you want to be a cop? Is it similar to being in the military?

MS:

I know it’s a “cookie cutter” answer but I wanted to help people and make a difference in people’s lives. It’s similar to being in the military in a couple ways. Just like being in the military, the police departments have that “brotherhood” amongst the officers. Also there is that self accomplishment of knowing you’re doing something good for your community.

I wanted to help people and make a difference in people’s lives.

DJS: What skills from the military translated into your job and made you successful in your current role?

MS:

Some skills from the military have definitely helped me out as a police officer, such as combatives. In 2016 I was involved in an incident where I was fighting with a subject who pulled a gun on me while I was on top of him. A round was fired and I was able to fight the gun away from him and I eventually arrested the subject. Other skills that have helped me in my job are things like being able to adapt quickly to changing scenarios and the ability to maintain composure.

A round was fired and I was able to fight the gun away from him and I eventually arrested the subject.

DJS: Are there other veterans on your department? If so, how is that dynamic?

MS:

Although my department is a smaller department and located in the San Francisco Bay Area, we have several veterans in our department. We have three guys who served in the Marines, one who was Corpsman in the Navy and me, as an infantryman in the Army. Besides getting ganged up on by the Marines and the branch rivalry, we all get along.

DJS: If you knew one thing before the transition process that would have made your experience easier, what would that be?

MS:

One thing I wish I knew before the transition process was how many different veterans groups and services that are out there to help veterans outside of the VA. They are out there, some easier to find than others, but search for them.

One thing I wish I knew before the transition process was how many different veterans groups and services that are out there to help veterans outside of the VA.

DJS: What was the hardest piece of the transition?

MS:

I think I was blessed to meet a bunch of veterans shortly after I got out to help me through the transition and to point me in the right directions. But one tough thing to do, that majority of veterans are faced with, was just the adjustment into normal civilian lifestyle.

DJS: What one piece of advice do you have for anyone reading this?

MS:

Just keep moving forward and stay on track. There will be obstacles but as long as you keep moving forward, you’ll reach your goals in life.

Keep moving forward and stay on track.

Service Details:

Matt Sheedy joined the Army in 2005 as an Infantryman. His first duty station was with the 25th Infantry Division in Ft. Lewis Washington. The unit was reflagged to 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment and moved to Vilseck, Germany. In 2007 the unit deployed to Iraq. Matthias was medically discharged in 2009 and moved back home to California. He attended a local school and received his Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. In 2013 he was hired as a police officer and in early 2017 became a K9 handler.

Top Resources:

United Heroes League— UHL actively works to ensure that children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in sports. For the top 5 reasons to support them, click here.

Wounded Warrior Project — WWP is a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military actions following September 11, 2001.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America — IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Founded and led by veterans, IAVA is a non partisan member advised advocacy organization focused on solutions to the issues facing veterans today.


2017 with my K-9 partner Laszlo after we graduated K-9 school.
Wounded Warrior Project fishing trip.
Playing hockey at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.
2007 in Baghdad, Iraq.
In 2013 after being sworn in as a police officer.

Are you interested in sharing your story of transition? Or are you a military transition specialist who would like to share some tips? Send me an email at MilitaryTransitionStories@gmail.com

The goal of this series is to bridge the military-civilian divide in three ways: 1) Highlight the incredible skills and value that military veterans of all generations and backgrounds bring into the workplace. 2) Help transitioning veterans understand their true value and therefore aim as high as possible in their employment and educational goals. 3) Discuss the common struggles, pitfalls and indicators of success in veteran transition, in order to provide better transition assistance from both military and civilian sides.

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