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Saturday October 20, 2018

clock ticking down on law enforcement career

Friday, December 29, 2017 17:24 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

He's practically the face of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office.

Capt. Mike Kellems after 31-years at the department is retiring to become head of security for the Duneland School Corporation.

''I'm going out I think at the top of my game,'' said Kellems.

Throughout his career, Kellems occasionally found himself in the media spotlight as a source of information on pipe bombings, a plane crash and other local law enforcement happenings.

He became even more of a familiar figure on TV, radio and print, though, when named the department's public information officer three-years ago.

Kellems said he never sought the limelight but did enjoy the job and always made sure to give others the credit for the behind the scenes work drawing attention of the media.

He also made it a point to educate the public what emergency responders go through in his interviews with the press.

''My job is to represent what the department does and I tried to do that very open and honestly,'' said Kellems.

Kellems first got his feet wet at 15 when he joined the LaPorte County Police cadet program.

At 19, he was officially deputized.

One of his first major assignments was going undercover in a drug investigation then after receiving a degree in criminal justice from Vincennes University joined the department full-time.

He went on to hold every position except sheriff, chief deputy and major.

Kellems, who also used to be a volunteer firefighter, has practically done and seen it all but what really stands out to him about his time in public service is mentoring and working with youth.

About a half dozen of the kids he came into contact with are now police officers themselves.

''I'm very proud of the career I've had but along the way I've had the opportunity to make some impacts on other people outside of law enforcement,'' said Kellems.

Kellems is not going into his new job totally blind about school security.

He's been going to Chesterton the past several weeks learning the ropes of his new position and is supervisor for all of the sheriff's department officers working full-time in the schools.

He's also a former instructor for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program in the schools and once served four-years on the LaPorte School Board.

In his new position, Kellems said his main goals include developing an emergency response plan in the event of a train derailment or semi-truck accident involving toxic chemicals with heavy freight and major highway traffic being so close to several of the Chesterton area schools.

Preventing a school shooting is another major focus of his given what's happened nationwide in recent years.

''Those are just a few of the things I will be involved in,'' said Kellems.

Despite being so devoted to police work, Kellems said he hasn't become emotional yet but expects to when he reports for duty one last time on Tuesday.
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