Monday, September 16, 2019

Men and Women in Blue – Meet the officer

Sgt. Jim Hassig on beach patrol. Photo By Jim Sousa

Sgt. Jim Hassig on beach patrol. Photo By Jim Sousa

When I met Sgt. Jim Hassig, he had just completed a patrol of the Marco beach and was seated in the Polaris ATV that the MIPD uses to monitor the beach. As he chatted with me about how he came to Marco and about his background, it was evident that Sgt. Hassig was comfortable in his role of protector of Marco Island’s residents and visitors, and very happy to be here. Like many of his colleagues, Hassig brings excellent credentials to his position in our local PD.

A city kid, Hassig was born in Fort Wayne, IN, where he spent four years in Fort Wayne Student Police from age eighteen until his twenty-second birthday. For the next three years, he served in the United States Air Force Military Police. Hassig then worked for twenty years in the South Bend (IN) Police Department, where he gained “the full gamut” of police experience. This included five years as a patrol officer, four years as a canine handler, and four years as a detective. Eventually, Hassig rose to the rank of  Uniform Division Chief. During his time in South Bend, Sgt. Hassig was called upon to deal with  much crime, including homicides. He even lost fellow officers to gunfire.

Sgt. Hassig has worked for the Marco Island Police Department for the past four and a half years. Prior to Marco, he worked one year in Lehigh, FL. I asked him, “Why Law Enforcement? Why Marco Island?”

His answers: “In this job you are called upon to be a sociologist, a psychiatrist. You have to tailor yourself to each situation. When I worked in the student police, I worked in an office. When I left each night with a pile of papers on my desk, that same pile of papers would be waiting for me when I returned the next morning. As a police officer, you never know what a day will bring.”

“In Marco, we are blessed with a low crime rate, so if an officer started here, they would not get much experience, but our officers are from many parts of the country and have a wealth of experience. I consider myself fortunate to be working for Marco Island where the citizens are very appreciative of the work we do.”

As he pointed to the gorgeous beach scene behind him, he told me he considers it “a privilege to be working in such surroundings. And,” he said, “I never tire of the view.”

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