- Associated Press - Sunday, January 22, 2017

BRISTOL, Ind. (AP) - Mike Swallow has been endured - and survived - a law enforcement career spanning 47 years and he shows no signs of slowing down.

Swallow, the Bristol town marshal and head of the Bristol Police Department, celebrated his 70th birthday on Jan. 9.

By taking a vacation day Jan. 13, Swallow thought no one would notice his birthday on the following Monday. On Facebook, however, he had no idea that his wife, Maggie, and members of the Bristol Police Department planned and announced on social media about a party in his honor.

He never expected to live this long, but feels blessed to be able to still protect the residents of Bristol. In 1995, he retired after 20 years as an Indiana State Police trooper and took over the Bristol town marshal position.

The Bristol Police Department, chartered in 1835, staffs only six full-time officers and 12 reserve officers.

“I got into law enforcement after serving four years in the military and after going to college,” said Swallow, who’s been in Bristol for 22 years. “I decided to take part in the state police in Indiana.”

What kept Swallow in law enforcement for so long is working and helping people. People expect there to be highs and lows of being a police officer, but not Swallow.

“One of the highs of the job is just doing the job for the people. How many lives you touch, and some of the people I’ve arrested made comments on the Facebook page that were set up for the party,” said Swallow. “You don’t do the job for the money. Yes, the hours are terrible, but you have to make the best of it.”

Swallow said his job in Bristol is more hands on and a tighter-knit force than when he worked for the state police.

“While I was at the state police I was doing more administration work than what I’m doing here in Bristol,” he said. “Here I’m doing both administration work and work outside of the station. Also in Bristol, you come into work with people you know. You get a little closer to the job with local officers.”

Chief Deputy Mike Alpin, who’s worked with Swallow for two decades, said Swallow has developed into a mentor and community leader.

“While working with Swallow for 20 years, it developed into him being a father figure for me and showing me guidance and leadership that molds me,” Alpin said. “We have a lot of interesting experiences.

“Being with Swallow is always an experience. There is always something going to happen if you’re around him.”

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Source: The Elkhart Truth, https://bit.ly/2iBuWsB

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Information from: The Elkhart Truth, https://www.elkharttruth.com

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