In 2000, a slightly sick Cedar Point police officer drove down to Delaware to take a police examination.
Seventeen years later, Det. Sgt. Mike Bolen heads the detective bureau at the City of Delaware Police Department. He was recently honored as the recipient of the “Top Cop” award presented to him by Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien.
In his 17 years at Delaware, Bolen has worked as a third-shift officer, a detective, then a sergeant, and said he still loves what he does.
Bolen said he had been working as a patrol officer for six years when a temporary detective position opened up in the department.
“I had no intention of applying, but my sergeant put my name in,” Bolen said. He said a permanent detective position became available and he applied and was later promoted.
“[My favorite things] are supporting victims and seeing a successful prosecution,” Bolen said. “I like forming relationships and getting to know victims and their families.”
Bolen said he also studied social work when he was in the police academy and worked at several organizations where he acted as a mentor or as a job trainer for handicapped individuals.
Bolen said one of the best feelings in his job is getting a confession out of a suspect.
“The first time I had a rape suspect in the interview room and he confessed, I wanted to scream,” Bolen said. “I still feel that. I still get fired up.”
The main difference between being a patrol officer and a detective is stress and involvement in cases, Bolen said.
“When you are on the road, it’s hours of boredom and seconds of stress,” Bolen said.
He said he frequently stays up late stressing about cases that he’s working on. “Having to deal with what we deal with every day, repeated over and over, it’s a battle against jading.”
Bolen said the detectives talk through cases with each other to give each other moral and emotional support.
“We bounce things off each other,” Bolen said. “We know what each person is going through and dealing with.”
Bolen was promoted to sergeant after several years as a detective and was back on the road for years before being promoted to detective sergeant.
“I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity to move around,” Bolen said. “If you do any one thing for too long you get burnt out. I’m thankful that I’ve had a consistent change of pace.”
Personally, Bolen said he wouldn’t be able to do his job without his church and his family.
“My church is important. It helps me emotionally manage,” Bolen said. “Having the support of my family, especially my wife, is extremely beneficial.”
Bolen said he and his wife have been married for two and a half years and said she knows what he goes through as a detective and supports him.
“We’re just normal people like everybody else,” Bolen said. “I’m a laid back guy.”
Contact Glenn Battishill at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.