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Michael Harlow, Ohio University Police Department's newest addition to the force, poses for a portrait in a police car on Jan. 23, 2016

New OUPD officer eager to get to work after intensive training

Officer Harlow will fill one open position at OUPD after he finishes his training, but two more remain.

The Ohio University Police Department’s newest officer, Michael Harlow, works the shift from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. — and loves it.

“No, I actually don’t drink any coffee,” Harlow said. “I was at Marietta Police Department, so I spent two and a half years on midnight shift. So, real used to it. And I actually prefer being on night shift.”

Harlow said his first day on the force was Dec. 21, while students were gone for winter break. He’ll fill one open position at OUPD after he completes his training, but two more remain, according to OUPD Lt. Tim Ryan.

“We are still working to fill those positions,” Ryan said in an email.

The shortage of staff means officers are having to work overtime, OUPD Chief Andrew Powers said, and Harlow’s hiring hasn’t done anything to lessen the workload just yet. He’s still working through the department’s 12-week-long field training program, which pairs new officers with a senior training officer.

“Recruit officers are released from the program when we are confident that they can operate proficiently and professionally without a senior officer present,” Powers said in an email.

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Harlow’s application process began in March. After submitting his application, he took a written test he said was about 100 questions long. He went through interviews with members of the department, including the detectives, lieutenants, the chief and the captain. He said he started the background process in August, then he had to pass a polygraph, a psych test and a medical test. Harlow said he heard 223 people applied to the position.

Officer Harlow works 40 hours a week at $26.94 an hour, which translates to “56,000 and some odd dollars” a year, he said.

“The pay and the benefits are great,” Harlow said. “But the times I visited on campus for personal time and for work I just noticed the professionalism of the police department and how the guys interact with people. It really caught my eye. When I found out they were hiring, I looked into it, and I found out about the benefits and the pay, and the department’s a really big family-oriented department, which was real good.”

This is Harlow’s second week patrolling in uniform — for his first three or four weeks on the force, he worked in plainclothes with his training officer and observed, like he does now.

“Pretty much I just observed,” Harlow said. “I rode along with a training officer. I just stood back and watched how he did things.”

Harlow said his favorite part of the job is interacting with students and said they haven’t given him any trouble yet.

“Students have been real good, actually,” Harlow said. “Real polite.”

Although Harlow worked midnight shifts at Marietta, working here is a little different.

“At Marietta we handled a lot of domestic (disputes), burglaries, stuff of that matter,” Harlow said. “Here, it’s a lot more thefts, intoxicated people.”

He said he also worked as deputy sheriff at the Washington County Jail for a year and a half and has some experience working with intoxicated people from that.

Harlow’s current midnight shift is just one of several assignments and shifts he’ll rotate through during his training, Powers said in an email. Harlow said he’s heard he will end up on an afternoon shift, a mix of day and night hours. Eventually, he’d like to get back on nights.

Harlow said it’s been very laid back at the department since he started, but he expects that to change once the weather warms up. He said he’s looking forward to the bustle of fest season.

“I like busy,” Harlow said.

 @baileygallion

bg272614@ohio.edu

 

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