At first glance, local physician Dr. Jim Joachim, seems like a typical doctor – a stethoscope slung over his shoulder, medical journals on the office bookshelves and academic degrees adorning the walls. Â What you may not notice is what makes him unique Â - sitting on his desk is a police badge from the Wilmington Police Department.
Joachim completed the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program at Cape Fear Community College and was sworn in as an auxiliary police officer with the Wilmington Police Department (WPD) last month and was recently appointed to serve as the tactical physician with the WPD SWAT team. His goal was to combine his 26 years of experience in practicing medicine with his desire to work in law enforcement.
Joachim has always had a deep respect for law enforcement. While growing up in New York, Joachim’s father worked as a judge and attorney who spent a lot of time working with law enforcement officers. Because of these influences, he aspired to work in law enforcement from a young age.
“It’s actually a dream I’ve had my whole life,” Joachim said.
The Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks also made an impact of Joachim’s decision to pursue law enforcement. Three of his close friends, one a firefighter and the other two police officers, died as they were responding to the crisis.
“They were a huge inspiration,” Joachim said.
Joachim enrolled in CFCC’s new evening BLET program in the fall of 2012. Â Over the course of eight and a half months, he attended classes from from 6 p.m. – 10 Â p.m. Monday Â through Thursday and every other weekend. The program requires a total of 624 hours and covers 36 different topics. The program requires “intense physical training” and all BLET students must pass a series of tests and practical exams including a physical abilities test, weapons certification, and ultimately pass a state qualifying exam.
At 54, Joachim was much older than the other fellow trainees, but he said that the instructor and his classmates were very supportive.
In particular, CFCC’s instructor Ricky Simpson provided daily inspiration and encouragement.
“He told me that you’re never too old. It’s a matter of will and drive,” Joachim said.
“It was very challenging, but it was also illuminating for me because I met some wonderful, dedicated people. What I loved about BLET was the people in our class helped each other succeed. There was a lot of camaraderie and a lot of teamwork.”
For the future, Joachim plans to continue to practice medicine and complete the next phase of the field training required so he can be fully certified and ready to respond when needed with the SWAT team.
“I’m committed to keeping people healthy as a physician and I’m also committed to upholding the rule of law,” Joachim stated.
“It’s an honor to do both.”