Meet Deputy Jim Budnik, Presque Isle County Sheriff’s Office

WHAT’S HIS JOB?

Jim Budnik got into law enforcement late in life, after working in welding for 13 years at Baker Enterprises Inc. in Alpena. He went through Alpena Community College’s criminal justice program and has worked with the Presque Isle County Sheriff’s Office full-time since 2011, serving as dispatch/corrections officer and deputy. Since January, Budnik has worked as court officer, where his primary job is to provide security in the courthouse, and to take care of the judge.

WHAT HE DOES FOR FUN

Like many Rogers City-area residents, Budnik enjoys hunting and fishing. He also likes to hurl down a river at 55 mph with the Top O’ Michigan Outboard Racing Club and is working to organize a first-time speed boat race on Grand Lake.

WHY HE ENTERED LAW ENFORCEMENT

A 3 a.m. call to help an older gentleman with dementia while he was a volunteer firefighter helped Budnik decide on the transition from welding to law enforcement. The older man’s gratitude for the help he was offered moved Budnik to pursue a dream and begin training for a full-time career in law enforcement, hoping to touch more lives.

“There’s times where you don’t even realize it, and you’re making a difference,” Budnik said.

WHAT’S THE TOUGHEST PART OF THE JOB?

The unpredictability of the job is a challenge, never knowing when someone will take a swing at you, Budnik said. Even off-duty he’s always on his toes, because “you never know what’s going to happen.”

Budnik remembers an incident from his early days as a deputy, his first felony stop, in which he had to make a tough decision, placing himself in danger, in order to protect a child.

“I was just so concerned about that little girl screaming like that,” Budnik said. “Tears at the heartstrings, you know?”