- He was the kind of guy who'd wear a cowboy hat with his black wedding tux, and who didn't much care that friends ribbed him for being a fan of NASCAR driver Mark Martin. He could cut a pretty good rug line-dancing, too.
That's one dimension of the personal life of Mike Partin, who fell off the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge one week ago todaywhile helping another officer chase a fleeing suspect. The body of the 25-year-old Covington police officer remained unfound in the Ohio River on Saturday.
But another measure of the man is his professional life. In his 15 months on the force, he handled 168 cases that resulted in criminal or traffic charges for adults. His number of calls is far higher when juvenile cases and calls for help that didn't result in court action are counted.
His last arrest, according to court records, took place at 5 a.m. on New Year's Day. He helped take to jail a 24-year-old man charged with alcohol intoxication.
To honor Officer Partin's dedication and sincerity, Police Chief Al Bosse will ask the city commission to rename police headquarters after him. Chief Bosse said he will also retire Officer Partin's badge number and award him the city's Legion of Honor medal.
On Friday, the Kentucky House of Representatives passed a resolution that called Officer Partin a true hero. The resolution read, ''A life spent worthily is measured by deeds, not years, and through his compassion, enthusiasm and genuine concern for his fellow man, Officer Mike Partin is worthy of the highest commendation.''
A glimpse at how the man who wore badge No. 0163 did his job shows he was a by-the-book but kind public servant.
Pam Kennedy has a criminal record. So when she called for help last month after her children's Christmas presents were missing, she expected she might not be treated with much courtesy by the officers who responded.
She thought she sensed a little bit of that when Officer Partin and another man came to her door in the City Heights public housing complex. He asked whether they could come in and look around. She showed them the downstairs closet - the things she had been given by the Be Concerned social service agency were still there; what she'd bought at a dollar store were gone.
Officer Partin and his colleague took down enough information for their report, talked a minute and left. But he was back about 90 minutes later, a ''big, huge'' box in his hands. He tried to convince 12-year-old Felicia, who is mentally handicapped, that he had been sent by Santa Claus.
''He said, 'Honey, you're going to have to go upstairs because Santa Claus told me not let you see this,' '' her mom recalled.
The girl wouldn't budge. Officer Partin finally gave up two teddy bears to her so he could sneak in the door with the rest. By the time he left, Felicia, her sister and two brothers would have a bigger Christmas than their mom could have provided. He also gave Ms. Kennedy the phone number of a Covington bingo hall, where she got more help.
''He just walked out after taking the report and said, 'Are you gonna be home? '' she said. ''I said yes. I didn't have anywhere to go. I had no idea what he was going to go do.''
Ms. Kennedy wrote a letter to the police department, telling Officer Partin's supervisors how grateful she was.
''He was non-judgmental,'' she said. You don't know what that meant to me.''
Thomas Howell readily admits to having been in some trouble. He's 16. Some of the times, Officer Partin was involved.
Officer Partin ''was pretty nice to me,'' he said last week as he stood in front of the Northern Kentucky police memorial in Covington. The spot was covered in flowers, notes and candles in honor of the fallen officer.
He might have looked a little out of place at the memorial, a teen-ager who'd been arrested by the very person for whom the mementos were placed. He said he came by because he had heard about the officer's fall and he just wanted to pay his respects.
''He was a nice guy,'' Thomas said.
Officer Partin talked to him about where his life was headed and about trying to turn it around.
''He made me think about it, I guess,'' he said. ''I guess I should think about it.''
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