- Mike Rutledge Staff Writer
Butler County’s largest city swore in nine new police officers on Friday, including one whose hiring was made possible by the city’s decision to lift the age ceiling for new members of the force.
MORE: Hamilton eliminates maximum age limit of new police hires
Aaron Grant, 36, a graduate of Madison High School and Miami University who worked as a gym teacher at Madison Elementary School about 10 years, said he made the career move to make more of a difference.
“As the elementary phys ed teacher, I felt I was making a difference, but I kind-of felt like I had a little bit more to give, and I could make more of a difference over just more people, rather than just as a phys ed teacher,” Grant said.
Grant moved into Hamilton a year and a half ago, “and I wanted to give back in that civic sense,” he said.
Until last year, the oldest a new police hire could be was 35. City Council made the change with hopes of increasing the size of the pool of applicants and also the diversity of people applying.
“When they lifted that up, that kind of made the decision for me to go ahead and resign from teaching — I did that in July — I went full-time in the (Great Oaks Police) academy in August, I graduated in December, and now I’m getting sworn in at the end of January,” Grant said. “It was a nice transition and all worked out.”
His wife, Terie Grant, said she and Aaron have been working since they moved into the city “to make positive changes” in the community. “It’s definitely exciting.”
Police Chief Craig Bucheit said the nine-officer group, one of the largest classes in city history, “are here to make a living, to support themselves and their families, but there’s an opportunity every day that they’re here to make a difference.”
He told the new officers “to seize that opportunity.”
As for Grant, Bucheit said, “We wanted to make sure we had a chance to bring in the biggest, most diverse and inclusive group that we could, to start with.”
“We recruit for diversity and inclusion, but we hire for character,” Bucheit said. “Here’s a guy who started as a teacher, has spent his life giving back and making a difference, but had a calling and a passion to be a police officer. It took a tremendous leap.”
Here are the other new officers:
- Oliver Zoellner, a Lakota West High School and Miami University graduate
- Matthew Blevins, a St. Xavier High School and John Carroll University graduate
- Justin Aichele, a graduate of Harrison High School and University of Laverne, who also attended the University of Cincinnati
- Seth Proffitt, an Edgewood High School graduate who is attending Miami University
- Patrick Wentz, a graduate of St. Francis DeSales High School who attended Miami University
- Zachary Strack, a Talawanda High School graduate who attended Miami University
- Andrew Prather, a Lakota East High School and University of Cincinnati graduate
- DeArrius Price, a Princeton High School graduate who earned an associate’s degree from Brown Mackie College
A number of the officers also graduated from Great Oaks Police Academy or other police academies, while others will train at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Basic Police Academy starting this week.