At the Meridian Township Board meeting on March 20, police officers Austin Dietz and Blaine Anderson were introduced to the board and the public.
“I just want to say I am happy to be here, and I am proud to be serving a community like Meridian,” Dietz said.
Meridian Police Chief David Hall said the two officers were sworn in on March 12, at the Meridian Township Police Department in front of their families and fellow law enforcement in attendance.
Dietz, who graduated from DeWitt High School, furthered his education at Grand Valley State University, majoring in criminal justice. Dietz then took his Police Academy courses locally at Lansing Community College.
Anderson, who graduated from Royal Oak High School, attended Western Michigan University, also with a degree in criminal justice. Anderson took his Academy courses at Kalamazoo Valley Academy.
Dietz said serving the residents of Meridian is a nice homecoming for him having grown up in Dewitt.
“I feel great because I kind of know the area,” Dietz said. “I know the people, I’ve got the vibe of how things work around here, and I think that will definitely help me when I start serving.”
Dietz said he was not initially drawn to law enforcement as a career, but after some life experiences drew him to the profession, he decided to apply for the academy.
“I did some ridealongs in college and fell in love with it,” Dietz said. “I took some classes at school and haven’t looked back since.”
For Anderson, police work is in his blood.
“I came from a family of law enforcement, so I just strived to be like everyone else,” Anderson said.
Outside of his family, being in the line of duty is nothing new to Anderson as he is also a member of the National Guard.
“Before the National Guard, I was already in college to go into law enforcement,” said Anderson. “Then I just decided that I wanted to do more. I joined ROTC and got commissioned into the National Guard as a second lieutenant.”
Anderson is currently stationed in Pontiac, Michigan, with the 1775th Military Police Company as a platoon leader.
Dietz said from the time he applied to where the two officers are now has been quite the long journey.
“I applied in November, got a call in December to have an interview in January,” Dietz said. “I met with two people, a week later I met with the chief, and about two weeks later I met with my background investigator, who was the sergeant. Then he did the in-house visits, talked to all my friends. Then I had to go through a physical and psychological evaluation.”
The two officer’s next step is required field training, which they start next week after their final days of orientation.
With the additions of the two new officers, the Meridian Police Department now has their 39th and 40th staff members, with their 41st currently enrolled in the Police Academy.