Last week Matthew
Anderson ran a marathon dedicated to the Chesterton Police Department: one
mile for each of the CPD’s 26 officers.
He did it at
Dogwood Park, over six nights, after work, in the dark: Anderson’s way of
marking National Police Week, May 10-16, and making it personal.
Anderson, 18, a CHS
senior and a Chesterton resident, had the idea to hit the bricks a couple of
weeks ago, in the run-up to National Police Week. “I thought it would be
cool just to run a mile for every officer on the police department,” he told
the Chesterton Tribune.
To Anderson’s way
of thinking, it was the least he could do for his town’s peace officers.
“They mean a lot to me,” he said. “They mean dedication, courage,
leadership. They’re good officers.”
They are, in fact,
role models for Anderson, whose career goal is to serve as a trooper and K-9
handler with the Indiana State Police. Anderson is currently taking a
criminal justice and investigations course taught by a retired Valparaiso PD
detective, Curt Hawkins, at the Law Enforcement Career Academy,
headquartered at Wheeler High School. “By running and representing each
Chesterton police officer for every mile he’s run shows Matt’s dedication
and complete respect for law enforcement,” Hawkins said. “He initiated this
tribute himself. This is just one example of how students are responding in
a positive manner to this pandemic. There are many up-and-comers ready to
prove society wrong about today’s youth. This is what I really enjoy
watching. I take a lot of pride seeing them succeed and proving the nay-sayers
CPD Chief Dave
Cincoski concurs. “In recognition of peace officers memorial week, Mr.
Anderson’s recognition of the Chesterton Police Department by running a mile
for each officer is certainly commendable and greatly appreciated,” he said.
nothing but praise for his mentor Hawkins--"He’s a hard worker and an
excellent teacher, he’s funny, he’s got a lot of great stories"--but in one
significant way Anderson has a different career path in mind: he hears the
call of the open road, has no desire for a detective’s shield, wants to burn
up the blacktop on patrol. That’s why he’s hoping one day to wear the ISP
trooper’s campaign hat. “Going around the state, seeing the countryside and
the different towns, meeting people at the rest stops and plazas, that would
be the best,” Anderson said.
“I just want to be
a public servant like Chesterton’s police officers,” Anderson added. “I want
to be as dedicated and selfless as they are.”
The CPD’s officers,
for their part, are giving Anderson props too. At least twice last week an
officer in a squad car escorted him around the Dogwood Park soccer fields as
he put in his laps.
What do Anderson’s
parents, Paul and Barbara, think about his marathon? “They think it’s
awesome,” he said. “They love it.”