The newest person to don a Marietta Police Department uniform is also the department's youngest patrolman.
But law enforcement is nothing new for 22-year-old Michael Harlow, of Marietta. With two associate degrees in law enforcement and nearly two years under his belt with the Washington County Sheriff's Office, Harlow has a variety of knowledge when it comes to the inner workings of the justice system.
"When I was little I used to dress up as a police officer and go to the police department picnics," said Harlow, who was inspired by his stepfather, Marietta Police Sgt. Len Ritchie.
Harlow started his new position about two weeks ago and his hiring filled the first of four patrolman slots the department has been trying to fill, said Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite.
"We're hoping to get the civil service test results back this week and continue the interviewing and hiring process," he said.
As for Harlow, he is excited that he will not have to be the new guy for very long.
Family: Wife Deanna and 5-month-old son Bryson.
Education: Associate Degrees in Law Enforcement Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and Law Enforcement Criminal Justice from Washington State Community College.
Hobbies: Golfing, camping and any outdoor activities.
"The guy that was the rookie before me spent over a year as the new guy. I'll only have to spend a couple of months," he said.
Question: What sort of jobs did you hold before starting with MPD?
Answer: I spent four years at the (Marietta) Aquatic Center as a lifeguard. I worked at Pet Supply Plus for a two years and Subway for a year. I worked for the Washington County sheriff from October 2011 to May 16 of this year. I was a deputy working in the jail and I worked courthouse security.
Q: How did that job help prepare you for this one?
A: Being at the jail, I learned how to talk to people and became familiar with a lot of faces. I got to work with people in all the different agencies and being at the courthouse I learned how the court system works.
Q: What drew you to a career in law enforcement?
A: My stepdad (Sgt.) Len Ritchie works here so I've grown up in the MPD. Everyone here has pretty much been family. I was a police officer every Halloween. I used to have a MPD dispatcher shirt when I was little that I wore all the time. I still have it, in fact. Len said we're gonna pass the shirt down to my son Bryson.
Q: What have you learned in your first two weeks of training?
A: It's been great. The first couple days I had a different trainer every day. Now I've (been) with officer (Dianna) Hively. She's been really good. We've learned how to do traffic crashes and fill out all the reports. My very first day they had me running through the woods looking for someone.
Q: What are you most looking forward to as an MPD officer?
A: Just spending an exciting career here. I want to retire from the MPD, and hopefully someday advance through the ranks, maybe sit in the captain's chair.
Jasmine Rogers conducted this interview.