Red Wing native goes from Twins prospect to Minnesota State Patrol

Switching careers is always a daunting proposition. But, not everyone makes the leap from the baseball diamond to a patrol car. 

"It's definitely a relief to be out on my own," says Patrick Kelly.

After a year and a half of training to be a state trooper, Patrick Kelly is finally hitting the road.

He says, "Just getting out there and making a difference in your day-to-day job. You are riding around. You can affect change in people's lives."

It's a whole new ballgame for the 26-year-old from Red Wing, who played baseball at the University of Nebraska before being drafted by the Twins during his junior year. He played two summers of minor league ball in Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids before he was cut and returned to Nebraska to finish college.

"Law enforcement has always been in my family. I knew it growing up. I knew once baseball was over, this was the career I wanted to go into. I just wasn't sure what path I wanted to take agency-wise," he said.

We first caught up with Kelly at a different kind of training camp -- the State Trooper Academy at Camp Ripley earlier this year -- where being a former infielder helped prepare him for his future job.

"Baseball you have to be able to move," he said. "Turn double plays, so you can't be super tight so this has translated fairly well so far."

When he graduated from the academy in May, his father, a sergeant with the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office, pinned his new badge on his uniform while two uncles -- who are also in law enforcement -- looked on from the audience.

"Being that he's been in the industry for a while, he knows what I am getting into," he says. "It was super cool for him to be there and to do that. Along with my two uncles, they were there in full uniform as well. Super cool for them to be there and carry on the tradition of law enforcement in the family."

Kelly said trading shortstops for traffic stops is easier than you'd think. Both require a strong work ethic and teamwork. "Whether it's local deputies or county deputies, city police or state troopers, you are on one big team and that's what I really like."

And Kelly believes he's hit a homerun with his new career. "It's been awesome so far. I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's one of the best careers out there. I would say it’s awesome."

Kelly has only been on patrol for a few days. His territory includes Goodhue and Wabasha counties.