Prince Frederick, MD – An armed security guard, who was pardoned in 2015 by New Jersey’s then-Governor Chris Christie on a gun possession charge, has achieved his goal of becoming a law enforcement officer.
“It’s just a blessing,” Calvert County Sheriff’s Deputy Steffon Josey-Davis, 27, told Fox & Friends on Thursday. “I’m just thankful…it’s a great opportunity to be able to serve.”
But Deputy Josey-Davis’ dream of a career in law enforcement was nearly shut down on Sept. 20, 2013, while he was working as an armed security guard for armored truck company Loomis Armored, FOX News reported.
As Deputy Josey-Davis was preparing to leave his New Jersey home to head to work that morning, his 6-year-old sister wandered into the garage, where he was cleaning his legally-owned 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun.
He said he quickly placed the weapon into the glovebox of his vehicle, then went on about his day.
Later that night, Deputy Josey-Davis said he was stopped by police as he and his girlfriend were driving in New Jersey.
When he reached into the glovebox to retrieve his vehicle registration information, he realized his loaded gun was still inside, and turned it over to the Highland Park police officer, he said.
Deputy Josey-Davis’ vehicle registration had expired that morning, so the officer issued him a citation and told him he could come to the station to pick up his weapon the next day.
When he went to the Highland Park Police Department with his work credentials and the receipt for his handgun, he was placed under arrest.
Although he legally owned the firearm, he didn’t have a permit to carry the weapon. According to Deputy Josey-Davis, the permit was pending at the time he was arrested, and was due to be approved the same week.
"They handcuffed me and charged me with unlawful possession of a firearm – a second-degree felony," Deputy Josey-Davis told FOX News. "I almost fainted. My life was ruined. All my hard work went down the drain."
He had no criminal history, and had successfully passed a rigorous background check before he was hired by Loomis Armored.
In order to avoid a potential 10-year prison sentence, Deputy Josey-Davis pleaded guilty to second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and was sentenced to probation.
"Describing his conduct as a simple mistake does not negate the seriousness of this law, which was created to protect police officers and the public," Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey told FOX News at the time. "Illegal gun possession is a second-degree offense, punishable by a prison term of multiple years. This defendant agreed to plead guilty and was placed on probation for one year."
As a result of his felony conviction, Deputy Josey-Davis’ hope of becoming a law enforcement officer seemed to be gone forever.
But as news of the circumstances of his conviction spread, the aspiring deputy eventually caught a break after he told his story to Fox & Friends.
In June of 2015, Governor Christie announced that he was pardoning Deputy Josey-Davis of all criminal charges.
“I feel so blessed,” he said of the governor’s decision, according to FOX News. “Gov. Christie knew in his heart this was the right thing to do.”
“It was a long fight,” Deputy Josey-Davis told Fox & Friends. “I lost everything, and I was able to regain everything back and fulfill my dream.”
He went on to attend the Maryland Police Academy, where he graduated with a 3.7 grade point average, and said he is currently working to further his education in the field of forensic science.
On July 31, Deputy Josey-Davis tweeted a photo of himself being sworn in as a deputy with the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office.
“Everybody at the department is just great,” Deputy Josey-Davis told Fox & Friends. “I came in there, they made me feel welcome, [I] felt at home, and I’ve been receiving the best training I can receive.”
He said he looks forward to using his experience to become a positive role model in his community.