The city of Kokomo hired two new recruit officers during an induction ceremony Friday afternoon inside the City Council Chambers at the City Building.
According to Maj. Jim Calabro, officers Marek Hullinger and Christopher “Mike” Marr will now be sent to the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield for a 15-week stint before coming back to Kokomo and continuing their training in a four-month field training officer program.
And both Hullinger and Marr were introduced to the job pretty quickly on Friday, Lt. Heath Haalck told the crowd, as the two men spent part of the morning observing their first autopsy.
“They were OK for about a minute,” Haalck joked with those in attendance.
Neither Hullinger or Marr are strangers to law enforcement, as both have been around the profession for years.
A Northwestern High School graduate, Hullinger went to Ball State University and earned a degree in criminal justice, Calabro said during the ceremony. He was also involved in International Justice Mission during his time in Muncie.
During his senior year in college, Hullinger even interned with KPD, a decision he said helped inspire him to become a police officer.
After graduation, he was hired by the Howard County Sheriff’s Department as a corrections officer, where he had worked for the previous two years.
“I’m just excited to get out there and serve my community and be more proactive about serving it,” Hullinger said after Friday’s ceremony. “Just being able to prevent some of the crimes and issues we face every day, it feels like success is finally here. It’s a dream come true.”
Marr is the grandson of former HCSD Deputy Jerry Marr, who was in attendance Friday and recording the events with a smile on his face.
Mike graduated from Christian Heritage Academy and earned his degree in business from Ivy Tech Community College. He had also worked for the city of Kokomo the past four years as a laborer for the street department.
“I’m just very thankful that KPD gave me an opportunity with them,” Mike said. “I’m really excited to get to the academy and learn the laws and how to be a good police officer so that I can apply it when I get on the streets and serve my community.”
It’s something that Mike’s grandfather, Jerry, knows about quite well.
“I’m extremely proud of him,” he said smiling. “But I also realize that from when I was a policeman to now, the world has changed so much. He has an entirely different element to deal with than I had to, so I will worry about him every day. But I really am so proud of him.”
With Friday’s new hires, that now puts the number of sworn officers with the department at 81.