New officer becomes latest family legacy for Middletown police

Middletown Police Detective Jon Rawlins,left, at the swearing in of his son, Ryun as a reserve police officer with the department. MIDDLETOWN DIVISION OF POLICE

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Middletown Police Detective Jon Rawlins,left, at the swearing in of his son, Ryun as a reserve police officer with the department. MIDDLETOWN DIVISION OF POLICE

Like many departments, the Middletown Division of Police has seen many follow their parents into the profession, and the latest was sworn in last week.

Officer Ryun Rawlins officially became an MPD reserve officer with his father, Detective Jon Rawlins, and stepmother and School Resource Officer, Robyn Stone Rawlins, in attendance.

The 21-year-old who just graduated from the Butler Tech police academy is now riding and training under the guidance of a field training officer for several months.

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That could lead to a full-time job in the same department where his father also began his career as a reserve officer.

After two years of college majoring in physical therapy, Ryun said he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps. And he didn’t consider any other department.

“I have gown up in this department,” he said. “I like it here and there is a lot of experience here. A good place to learn.”

Unlike his son, Jon Rawlins said he knew from an early that he wanted to a be a police officer. He became a patrol officer in 2002, and has been a detective since 2013.

Jon Rawlins is supportive of his son’s choice and a bit surprised.

“This isn’t a job, it is a profession,” he said. “And the job has changed, even since I started.”

He noted that just the cruiser is more crowded with equipment.

“It is long hours. Shift work and working holidays,” Rawlins said.

But both know the job is also very rewarding.

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Ryun Rawlins said he is not too concerned about his father overstepping boundaries with advice.

“He will help me if I ask,” he said.

Several Middletown officers are second-generation officers. Detective Kristi Hughes is the daughter of the late Lt. George Jeffery, Officer Holly Owens Jordan is the daughter of retired Lt. Donnie Owens, Officer Lindsey Schwarber is the daughter of retired Police Chief Greg Schwarber and Officer Steven Crank is the son of newly promoted Major Eric Crank.

Chief David Birk, whose own children don’t seem likely to follow him into the profession, said having a parent and child working on the same force has some challenges, such as making sure they are not working the same shift and the elder officer is not training or supervising the younger officer who is their son or daughter.

“It is a national trend that it is hard to find police officers,” Birk said.

Having a recruit who knows first-hand what the job entails is a plus.

“As a reserve officer, it is a chance for us to assess their work ethic and for them to see how we operate, see if it is right for them,” Birk said.

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