Helms gets one-of-a-kind certification for China Grove Police

Published 12:01 am Thursday, July 9, 2015

He’s No. 1 in China Grove and 241 out of the thousands of police officers across the state.

Officer Reese Helms, 32, is the first and only officer in the China Grove department to complete the North Carolina Justice Academy’s Traffic Enforcement and Investigation Certificate Program. Helms is student No. 241 to complete the course since its creation in 1999.

He completed the program in April, and the justice academy announced the completion last month. The course requires 500 hours of training, and is designed to provide in-depth knowledge of several aspects of traffic enforcement. The course is offered at the Justice Academy’s facilities in Salemburg, near Fayetteville, and Edneyville, near Asheville.

Traffic-related cases are a specialty Helms said he enjoys.

“You’ve got to find something to be passionate about that you’re skilled at,” he said. “Don’t be passionate about something that you’re not any good at.”

Helms is a self-described car fanatic, and perhaps tinkering with cars is a reason for taking the course, he said.

“When we got a traffic unit in China Grove, I aspired a great deal to be a part of it because it is something that I enjoy,” he said.

As a part of the state traffic course, Helms said he earned an accident reconstruction certification, which focuses on reverse engineering car collisions after they happen.

Helms is a Rowan County native. He graduated from West Rowan high School in 2001 and enlisted in the National Guard for a period. The China Grove Police Department hired Helms in January of 2007.

He began pursuing a career in law enforcement because of childhood interactions.

“I guess I was just around a lot of cops growing up, and I just thought it was something that would be enjoyable to do,” Helms said.

Currently, he is assigned to Carson High School as a resource officer and serves as an instructor for new officers in the China Grove Police Department.

Helms’ education has already reached another level, as he’s enrolled at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. He’s pursuing a degree in criminal justice, which he said “is a little bit more of a headache” than the traffic course.

“If you live in America and are not busy, then you’re probably doing something wrong,” he said.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246