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Tabaka took long route to RPD

Tony Tabaka didn't know right out of high school that he wanted to be a cop. In fact, it would take a four year stint in the Marines and trying out some dreams before he decided law enforcement was for him.

That is not to say that Rosemount's newest police officer fooled around waiting for motivation. Quite the contrary. He joined the Marines and learned more than any college could teach him.

Tabaka said he knew since the seventh grade he wanted to be part of the U.S. Marine Corp. He joined the Marines in 2000 shortly after graduating high school. At the time the world was a different place. Sept. 11 hadn't happened yet and terrorism was something people in other countries dealt with.

That obviously changed. Tabaka was on liberty in Sydney, Australia with some fellow soldiers when word started to come in that the World Trade Center had been attacked. Not knowing if it was true, Tabaka said he didn't think much of it. But soon after an officer confirmed the news and sent the soldiers back to their ship to get ready.

"We got all our information from CNN," Tabaka said of those first hours after learning of the attack.

Tabaka was part of an infantry unit. Specifically, his position was with a Tactical Recovery and Aircraft Personal team. His team essentially rescued pilots and other aircraft personnel who had crashed or been shot down. His job would have him spending time in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2004 Tabaka got out of the Corps and came home. The 1999 Apple Valley graduate worked a number of construction jobs before trying his hand as a big game hunting guide, something he had dreamed of.

While he thoroughly enjoyed guiding, Tabaka knew it wasn't a stable job. Wanting to get married and someday have a family he decided to go to college.

As part of the Marines and specifically as part of a TRAP team Tabaka received training in a number of areas he could use back here in the states including medical and defense training. Tabaka considered several careers including becoming a paramedic but eventually chose law enforcement.

"It was the most logical choice," said Tabaka.

Tabaka attended Rochester Community and Technical College and graduated this past spring with a degree in law enforcement. Wanting to be closer to home and knowing there were more opportunities in the Metro Tabaka decided to apply for the Rosemount position.

He started with the Rosemount Police Department on Sept. 8 as a patrol officer. So far things are going well.

"I like the professionalism and everyone is friendly," said Tabaka.

Tabaka said he looks forward to getting to know the community.

"It's an important part of what we do," said Tabaka.