And Chief Dave Light said that’s important since local officers tend have their “heart into it” — a quality he seeks in new hires. Reserve officers are part-time, paid positions.
The department has two new reserve officers — Justin Fulton and Andrew Hemenway. Fulton is a St. Paul High School graduate and Hemenway graduated from Norwalk. Both officers started about three weeks ago.
“I find hometown people have a vested interest in the community. It seems they know the culture of the community,” Light said.
“We hire them only as certified officers,” he continued, referring to reserves. “They go through the same training as our own full-time officers do. … Once they come through, they do the same job as the full-time officers do.”
Having reserve officers transition into full-time work is a tradition in Norwalk. Light and 14 other full-time cops started out in the reserve corps.
“That says it all,” Light said. “It gives us a chance to look at them to see if we want them as full-time officers.”
Fulton is the son of Detective Sgt. Jim Fulton, who is in charge of the detective bureau.
Light said having a cop as a father is double-edged sword.
“He (Justin) was always raised in the department,” Light said, and heard about law enforcement “at the kitchen table every night” since he was a boy.
“The bad part is his dad is perfectionist,” he added.
The younger Fulton earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from BGSU Firelands and is a graduate of the EHOVE Career Center police academy. Light praised the young man for his “top academics” in college and 4.0 GPA.
“Justin is a very smarty young man,” he added. “He was always involved in sports.”
Fulton played on the St. Paul football team that won the state championship in 2009.
Hemenway earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Tiffin University. He graduated from the Sandusky Basic Police Academy in May 2016.
“This is his fifth summer working at Cedar Point. You have to be people-oriented to work at Cedar Point,” Light said, referring to the police department.
Since obtaining his police certification, Hemenway has worked as a non-bonded security officer and now, a bonded officer.
“He has a great personality and he’s smart. I think he’s a good fit,” Light said.
The other reserve officers in the department are Al King, Phil Charville and Seth Kramer.
“We have the least amount of reserve officers we’ve ever had. At one time we had 12,” Light said.
Charville is a retired Norwalk officer who now is the chief probation officer at Huron County Juvenile Court. Kramer is filling in for Dave Ditz, who is serving the military overseas.
“The most important job of the chief is to hire the right people,” said Light, who continued his praise of Fulton and Hemenway. “The community is going to be lucky to have them.”