ROME CITY — After countless job applications and 13 years as a reserve officer Dustin Fike of Kendallville didn’t know if he was ever going to land his dream job.
Fike, who had the dream of becoming a full time police officer, was given the opportunity to live out his dream by a small Noble County department.
With the retirement of Marshal James Sheffield and promotion of Deputy Marshal Paul Hoffman, Rome City was in need of a deputy marshal.
Fike, who has worked as a reserve on the department, applied for the full-time position and was given the opportunity. Fike was sworn-in as deputy marshal on June 15.
Hoffman told the Rome City Town Council during its June meeting that Fike’s name kept coming to the front upon interviewing people for the job.
“He has been a faithful employee,” Hoffman said.
Town Manager Leigh Pranger told the board that Fike’s interview was excellent.
Since then Fike said things have been pretty busy.
“It feels weird doing this every day,” he said.
Before taking the job, he was working as a welder at a local industrial facility and working as a reserve officer when needed.
Fike’s journey into law enforcement began in 2007 as a reserve officer for the town of Waterloo. With changes in Waterloo, in 2010 Fike applied and received the reserve position in Rome City.
He said he enjoys law enforcement because he enjoys making a difference in people’s lives.
Fike, a Noble County native attended East Noble High School, finished his schooling online before attending the Indiana Reserve Officer Academy allowing him to become a reserve officer.
He currently resides in Kendallville with his girlfriend, Tara Coler. Together the couple has five children Zeriah Fike, eight-months; Tyson Fike, 12; Chloe Sturges; Sayge Sturges and Payton Sturges.
In light of recent nationwide protests and renewed criticism and, in some case anger, toward police, Fike believes being out in the community is the best way to change people’s perceptions about law enforcement.
On his first full day, Fike made it a point to introduce himself to all the businesses within the Rome City community.
His belief is that every situation he responds to doesn’t require a ticket or arrest. He believes talking about a situation can sometimes solve problems.
“I have found that a lot of people are responsive to that type of policing,” he said.
He said he feels it is his duty to talk with people to try to help them resolve their problems.
“Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” he explained.
Fike cautions however that not every situation can be talked out and sometimes there is a need for a ticket or arrest.
Fike also believes that it is important to build a relationship with children around the community. In doing so it can help to change the minds of some children who may be afraid of local law enforcement.
As a full-time officer Fike is also looking to become involved in the community to help continue to build a relationship between the police department and its residents and many visitors.
Despite attending the Indiana Reserve Police Academy and receiving the same training as a full-time officer Fike will still have to attend the Indiana Police Academy to update his training. Due to the coronavirus there is currently a waiting list to attend the academy.