When Martin McCoy applied to be a police officer at the Auburn Police Department, he was one of 126 applicants for a single position. The APD obviously made the right choice—McCoy has been serving Auburn for nearly 25 years, with the last 17 as Chief of Police.
Being in law enforcement wasn’t initially part of Chief McCoy’s plan. After high school, he worked construction. But after 15 years, he wanted something different and was encouraged by his two best friends—who had both joined the Houston Police Department—to consider law enforcement. After a year as a part-time U.S. Marshall, he was hooked and joined the APD the next year. What began as a career change has turned into a lifelong calling—one he’s more committed to than ever before as he leads the APD’s 23 full-time police officers and half a dozen or so reserve officers.
“Policing looks different and requires a lot more today,” he explains. “We train more than any other department I know because I want my men and women to be ready for any situation.”
While the state requires police officers to receive a minimum of 24 hours of training annually, Chief McCoy says the APD does well above that. They receive training in fire arms—including cold weather and night shoots which pose extra challenges—as well as emergency driving, hazardous materials, SIDS, emergency trauma and more.
“No day is the same and we have so many different opportunities to help people,” Chief McCoy says. “But that also means we need to be educated and trained for a variety of situations.”
Versatility is Key
The role of a police officer is more versatile than ever.
“We wear many hats today,” Chief McCoy explains. “My officers conduct traffic stops, investigate crimes, referee and protect in domestic situations, rescue children from abusive situations, oversee animal control, help in emergencies, assist with welfare checks—the ways we are involved in the community is endless.”
The variety of calls the APD fields has also expanded their needed skill sets.
With mental health calls increasing nationwide, the APD has also trained some officers in crisis intervention—with a required 40 hours of training per officer—to help in situations where individuals are either a potential harm to themselves or others.
In this digital age, the APD has increased training in electronic tools and often partners with the state police or the city’s IT department to investigate cases.
Active Community Role
As part of their job, APD officers also volunteer at five community events each year, a requirement set by Chief McCoy.
“We’re out in the community every day doing our jobs, but participating in community activities gives our men and women another avenue for interacting with the public. It lets people know we’re here to help them,” he explains.
One of the most popular events his officers like to participate in is Shop with a Cop.
Every year before the holidays, the APD takes out a handful of youth living in poverty. They help them select winter clothes and Christmas presents and treat the kids to a pizza lunch. (If you know of a child who is a candidate for Shop with a Cop, apply here. If you want to contribute to the fundraiser, mail a check to the APD at P.O. Box 506, Auburn, IN 46706. Be sure to put “Shop with a Cop” in the memo line.)
Making Auburn Great
All the APD’s efforts add up to a better community.
“I’ve always been very community-minded,” says Chief McCoy. “I live and do business in this community and want it to be the best place it can be. I’m in a position to influence others and I’m glad I have the opportunity to help lead efforts to improve Auburn and make it safe.”