New alumnus is blazing an old trail
In his first job after graduating from Macomb’s Police Academy, Mitchell Oliver finds himself enjoying the peace he has been sworn to protect as one of 13 officers entrusted with 3.8 square miles of pure Michigan.
“As soon as I stepped off the ferry, the whole pace of my life slowed down,” says Oliver, 21, whose move to Mackinac Island to live and work marked his first visit there as well. “The downtown set up, no cars, the horses, it’s completely different from where I grew up in Shelby Township.”
Oliver graduated from Eisenhower High School and earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Law Enforcement from Macomb. He followed that up with 17 weeks of Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards academy training, which, he says, prepared him well for his first job – with one exception.
“The academy definitely covered a lot of the aspects of police work, except the part about not many officers walking a beat anymore,” muses Oliver. “But that’s what I do nine hours a day.”
Oliver works 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. in a rotation that includes every other weekend off. The first half of his shift is spent downtown, assisting visitors, un-impounding bikes and gently directing patrons toward their hotels after the Pink Pony, Drought House or other similar establishments close. After 3 a.m., he travels to the other side of the island, patrolling the wooded areas and looking for anyone who may have inadvertently strayed from the beaten path.
“I am surprised by how fast 12 hours go,” says Oliver, who joined the Mackinac Island force in May and will remain there until the fall colors fade in October. “After I graduated from the academy, I wanted to work in northern Michigan. It would be nice to find a year-round job up here, but, at this point in my career, I’ll go anywhere in the state.”
Oliver lives with four other Mackinac Island police officers in provided housing on Market Street not far from headquarters. On his days off, he may ride his bike to the ferry, pick up his truck in Mackinaw City and head to Cheboygan to go grocery shopping. Recently, he also enjoyed showing his family around the island, when his mom came up to compete in the Lilac Festival 10K run in early June.
“But my very favorite thing to do here is ride my bike out to the uninhabited areas – by Arch Rock or Devil’s Kitchen,” offers Oliver. “By the end of the season, my goal is to hit every trail on the island.”