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Langley adds experienced officer, ‘family guy’ in Mitch Hardin
Mitch Hardin, 38, likes lots of things.
He likes his family — two kids and a wife. He likes the Detroit Red Wings (NHL) and the Detroit Tigers (MLB). But he could care less about the NFL’s Lions or the NBA’s Pistons, of which his son is a fan.
And he likes Langley. No, he loves Langley. He should, because as far as he sees it, finding the job with the Langley Police Department was an act of providence and a dream fulfilled.
“On an act of faith, we prayed hard about (moving to South Whidbey) and said, ‘Let’s go,’” Hardin said of how his family came to live on South Whidbey Island in October 2012.
Hardin was hired by Police Chief Randy Heston earlier this month. Since then, he’s patrolled the city, visited with new Mayor Fred McCarthy and met city staff, business owners and residents. Walking the clean streets of Langley is far preferable to driving the mean streets of Detroit or Flint, Mich.
“I love it here,” Hardin said. “It’s beautiful. The people are friendly. My family loves it here. It was almost a culture shock.”
The dream of being in the position to experience culture shock started in 2011. His family traveled to Whidbey Island, where his wife’s family lives. One of his son’s hobbies is collecting patches from different police stations in the United States. While visiting Langley, Hardin and his son stopped by the Langley Police Department to swap patches. While meeting Langley officers and seeing the small office space in the back of City Hall, Hardin knew where his next job was and told his wife, “I want to work here (in Langley).”
“It’s a dream come true,” Hardin said.
One of the selling points was an admittedly cliche poster in the Langley police office. It reads, “Police others as you’d want them to police you,” and that’s a message Hardin hopes to keep the peace with.
“I’m just your average guy,” he said. “There is a stigma about cops and I’m not one of them.”
His hiring boosted the Langley police ranks to four full-time officers. Part of his duties may include working at Langley Middle School as a resource officer, which entails being a familiar face in uniform to deter crime or wanton behavior from youths.