Jeff King, Oxford Twp.’s newest police department sergeant, keeps busy working for three area community departments and incorporates his hobby into his professional life.
King’s promotion was announced recently to the township trustees, along with word of a federal grant to purchase new bulletproof vests, by Chief Michael Goins. King has worked for the Oxford Township Police Department for 10 years, most of that time spent in investigations, and he also serves the double role of Police Chief and Fire Chief in Gratis, Ohio.
He started in law enforcement in 2005 as an officer in Carlisle.
“It’s in the family. My dad, Ken, is retired from the Middletown Police Department. My mom, Sue, is a Middletown corrections officer and my brother, Josh, is a police officer in Monroe,” King said.
Recommended for you
It is the family’s hobby that binds them in yet another way, although they use it to promote law enforcement. They are drag racing aficionados and have formed a police drag racing team called FASTPOPO, challenging all comers to race and taking their cars to shows where they talk not only about the cars but also police work.
“It really gets the attention of kids, little kids and big kids. Muscle cars really attract,” King said. “We fund the cars ourselves and use them for education, telling people to race on a strip, not the roads. It’s a fun way for us to bond and teach. It does not cost agencies anything.”
Their web site, FASTPOPO.com, has a link “Let’s race,” offering to accept a challenge from all comers who want to sign up to race them at a drag strip.
The enterprise began when King’s brother, Josh, was deployed with his National Guard unit and became interested in a 1968 Chevelle which became available. Their father arranged to buy the car without telling his son and when he returned to this country, he was picked up in that car. They later added a 1969 Nova SS.
The cars are decked out in police stickers and get attention wherever they go.
“It’s definitely different, an American muscle car with police stickers on it. It draws attention,” Jeff King said.
The Nova had help from Butler Tech students with the body work and painting and a corrections officer assists with some of the care of the cars, but King said it is primarily a family effort and both cars have “Officer King” on them so any of them can drive the cars.
King’s wife, Melissa, is a pediatrician, and they have two kids. They live in Germantown, but he said the commute does not cause him a problem and working for three departments works out, too.
The Oxford Twp. department offers 24-hour coverage for the unincorporated area of the township and his job in investigations keeps him busy.
“We cover 36 square miles outside the city and work closely with Oxford, Miami University and the county. We have everything from burglaries to cattle theft,” he said. “Community support for our department has been amazing. Twenty-four-hour coverage is a goal for our residents and we have a pretty high success rate to clearing cases. I am on call. Each day is a different adventure.”
Chief Goins said the department his three full-time positions and currently 15 part-time officers
The recent grant from the Department of Justice pays half the cost of five new bulletproof vests, with $1,351.25 paid by the DOJ and the same amount by the trustees. He said the township department began providing the vests in 1989 and the federal grants have been provided for many years to departments of all sizes around the country.
Goins joined the department in 2005 and is proud of being able to outfit the officers and the residents with what they need in police coverage.
“The trustees never question anything involving officer safety. We were the first department in the county with body-worn cameras. The prosecutor looked at our policy (when others began getting them),” Goins said. “Township is the most transparent form of government we have. One good thing about having us here is personalized service. We promised the trustees there would always be an officer out.”
Mutual aid agreements with the city as well as Butler, Preble and Union counties always assure officers will be willing to help out when called on as well was getting help for township officers in need of backup support.