New po­lice cap­tain re­flects on chal­lenges

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Zach Sr­nis zs­r­[email protected]­ingjour­nal.com @MJ_ZachSr­nis on Twit­ter

The Lorain Po­lice Depart­ment has a new cap­tain.

Mike Fail­ing, who was a lieu­tenant, re­cently was pro­moted to cap­tain.

Fail­ing, who has been with the depart­ment for 25 years, of­fi­cially was sworn in Dec. 3.

“I had been given some new du­ties over the last 18 months which are es­sen­tially done by a cap­tain, so it was nice to pass the test and re­ceive the of­fi­cial ti­tle,” Fail­ing said. “I had to go through the psy­cho­log­i­cal exam that looks at per­son­al­ity and lead­er­ship. I’m glad I passed and am able to move up.”

Fail­ing said the big­gest dif­fer­ence he sees now is be­ing able to see things through from start to fin­ish.

“I over­see the dif­fer­ent is­sues and trans­ac­tions that oc­cur,” he said. “I can see the be­gin­ning of the project and the end.

“Be­fore, I would even­tu­ally pass it to some­one else. Now it’s more of a man­age­ment style role, and it’s ful­fill­ing to see each step of the process.”

Fail­ing said the new chal­lenge ex­cites him.

“I like learn­ing to do some­thing new,” he said. “I’m learn­ing a dif­fer­ent as­pect of the job that I didn’t know of be­fore.

“For ex­am­ple, a pa­trol­man might need a new car. I now am in charge of the ac­tual pur­chas­ing process of that car. It’s kinda peeled back the cur­tain to how a depart­ment is run.”

Fail­ing said he spent his en­tire ca­reer with Lorain but also worked with Amherst Po­lice.

“I was part time over there from 2009 un­til this year, and I did it to gain some ex­pe­ri­ence in a dif­fer­ent type of city,” he said. “I have as­pi­ra­tions to be a chief some­day, so I wanted to see how a depart­ment is run in a place like Amherst.

“It’s a dif­fer­ent style of hav­ing fewer calls so there is more time to do com­mu­nity stuff. Lorain, by con­trast, has a higher vol­ume of calls, so you are con­stantly go­ing from call to the next one.”

Fail­ing said there is a mo­ment from early in his ca­reer that has stayed with him to this day.

“I re­mem­ber be­ing called out to a do­mes­tic sit­u­a­tion at 20th Street and Beach Av­enue,” he said. “We were told the male had left, but we searched the house and found him in the base­ment

with a shot­gun to his head.

“I told him to put the gun down, and even­tu­ally, he did. It one of those things you don’t for­get.”

Fail­ing said he was able to han­dle tough sit­u­a­tions due to the train­ing that Lorain po­lice of­fi­cers un­dergo.

“We con­stantly train here and cover 90 hours a year when some depart­ments get around 40 hours,” he said. “It helps to pre­pare us for any sce­nario. It makes it so when you ex­pe­ri­ence a sit­u­a­tion, it doesn’t feel like the first time.”

Fail­ing said the job has changed since he started as a pa­trol of­fi­cer.

“You need to be more ed­u­cated than in the past,” he said. “Af­ter I was hired here, I went to school to get a de­gree in crim­i­nal jus­tice and then my master’s.

“The job has evolved over the years,” he said. “En­force­ment has be­come more of a pro­fes­sion than ever be­fore, and peo­ple as­pir­ing to be of­fi­cers need to have school, es­pe­cially if they have an as­pi­ra­tions of mov­ing up the lad­der.”

Fail­ing said his fa­vorite part of the job is talk­ing with peo­ple.

“I love look­ing at dif­fer­ent groups and do­ing what I can to make peo­ple’s lives bet­ter,” he said. “That’s what I find re­ward­ing about the job.

“We need to change the per­cep­tion of law en­force­ment. We want mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to see us a peo­ple, not just of­fi­cers.”

Fail­ing is the first African Amer­i­can cap­tain in the his­tory of the Lorain Po­lice Depart­ment.

“It’s kind of odd to think about a depart­ment that’s been here as long as it has, hasn’t had an African Amer­i­can cap­tain,” he said. “It isn’t some­thing I re­ally think about, but it’s a nice added thing.”

ZACHARY SR­NIS — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

Cap­tain Mike Fail­ing an­swers the phone at the Lorain Po­lice Depart­ment.

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