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LIVING A DREAM: Since He Was Little, Joe Mansfield Wanted to be a Police Officer; Now the Redbank Valley Graduate Has Reached That Goal

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Joe Mansfield still finds it all a little surreal.

He’s a police officer. At age 19.

Mansfield got his badge and is in field training for the Southern Clarion County Regional Police Department. It’s the culmination of a dream that formed all the way back in middle school for the 2021 graduate of Redbank Valley High School.

(Pictured above, Joe Mansfield/submitted photo)

“It’s still just sinking in,” Mansfield said. “I’m pretty happy where I’m at right now.”

Mansfield is one of the youngest members of the force.

But like he was on the football field for the Bulldogs during his high school days, he’s prepared for whatever comes his way.

“I think it’s definitely going to be a learning curve,” Mansfield said. “You learn a lot of stuff in the academy, but nothing is going to prepare you for the real world. So a lot of this is going to be hands-on experience.”

Mansfield had originally planned to put his law enforcement days off for a bit to pursue a degree and play football at Westminster College.

At Redbank, few were as gifted at wreaking havoc on an offense as Mansfield, who finished his legendary career — his nickname was “Cheat Code,” after all — with 35 sacks, 59.5 tackles for a loss and 36 quarterback hurries.

He helped Redbank reach the PIAA Class A championship game as a senior. His uniform No. 2 has been “unofficially” retired by the school.

Mansfield, though, had an opportunity to join the Southern Clarion County Regional Police Department early and didn’t want to pass it up.

So just as he was when chasing down quarterbacks, he was relentless in his pursuit of it.

There were a lot of hoops to jump through — and miles to run.

(Redbank Valley graduate Joe Mansfield receives is badge as a member of the Southern Clarion County Regional Police Department)

“It was quite a while,” Mansfield said. “The first part was I had to do a physical test to get in and do a civil service test. When they picked me, I had to have a psych evaluation to get into the academy down (in Indiana, Pa.)

At the academy, Mansfield had to pass more physical tests, like running a mile and a half in under 13 minutes.

Mansfield relied on his physical condition from playing football for four years to ace the physical requirements.

It also helped him with the mental training and tests he had to pass to become an officer.

“It was definitely difficult,” Mansfield said, “but worth it.”

Mansfield graduated from the academy on Nov. 17.

Mansfield doesn’t have a longterm goal in law enforcement — yet.

For now, his goal is the same one that he had when he was in middle school, first dreaming of the day when he could become a police officer.

“I just want to help people,” he said.