Correspondent's note: A couple of weeks ago, a reader asked me a favor: "The Loudonville Police Department has five or six new patrolmen, and I don't know any of them. Why don't you write a story on them, to help us get to know them?" "Pretty good idea," I thought. At first I pondered writing two personality stories, each on three of them, but then I interviewed the first couple of candidates and realized that each is worthy of a full story. Therefore, for the next six weeks you will see in this column personality stories on our six Loudonville patrolmen, and in the seventh week, there will be a story on their chief, wrapping up the department's story. And to the reader who brought this up, thanks!
LOUDONVILLE — On July 3, 2017, Adam Harper was sworn in as a patrolman for the Loudonville Police Department.
The son of Dawn (Bruce) Burkhart and the late Brian Harper made the decision to go into law enforcement when he was a sophomore at Ashland University. He had planned on majoring in athletic training.
"I changed my mind when I learned that trainers do a lot of traveling, and don't make enough money to make all that travel worthwhile," Harper said. "I started thinking about other careers. Those thoughts included the reality that I really enjoyed watching police shows, and my dad wanted to be a park ranger, though he never actually did it. Anyway, with those thoughts, I changed my major to criminal justice."
After earning a degree in criminal justice in spring 2016, he enrolled in the police academy at North Central State College, and affiliated with the Loudonville Police when he completed the academy.
"The first thing I learned is that the job of policing is completely different than what you expected at the academy," Harper said. "You aren't trained for handling barking dog complaints or complaints on unmoved lawns. I spend most of the time keeping peace, not chasing after robbers."
Not long after he started his career, Harper learned one of the sadder aspects of police work.
"It was my first really serious call, a teenager overdosing. The victim turned out to be Jordan Hicks, who was a teammate of mine on the Redbird baseball team just a few years before," he remembered, very sadly.
The experience reminded him that as a police officer "I have the ability to change the pathway of life for some for the better. I enjoy the concept of community policing, particularly working with younger kids."
He is looking forward to working in the local schools with children, as all of the Loudonville officers will do until a permanent school resource officer is appointed.
Harper is married to Emma Fetzer, also of Loudonville, and they live on Vincent Drive in Loudonville. They purchased the home they live in from his mother and stepfather, who moved to Wooster.
In high school, Harper played virtually every sport at the school, including football, baseball, soccer and track.
As far as hobbies go, he enjoys working out, and participating in outside activities like hunting and fishing.
He also admitted "it's a generational thing. I am an avid gamer, and I play my games on a custom-built gaming computer. It's great fun!"