Saturday, August 14, 2004

Officer discusses loss, new position

By Janice Morse
Enquirer staff writer

Paul Asbrock (left), his brother, Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Mike Asbrock (center), and Lt. Asbrock's son Chris grill hot dogs Wednesday for Mason High School band camp.
HAMILTON - A 26-year veteran of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Mike Asbrock has risen through the ranks to his most recent job as commander of the patrol's post here.

He has been a crime fighter his entire adult life. He also has been a crime victim - his 15-year-old son was hit by a van and killed while crossing a street near Paul Brown Stadium in 2001.

This week, Asbrock talked about his work, his family and his hopes for his new job at the post whose troopers patrol state roads in Butler County and the majority of western Hamilton County.

Question: You fight crime ... but then you became a victim of crime. How has that affected the way you think about your job?

Answer: I've been to fatal crashes where I've had to go knock on a door and tell people that their husband or wife, son or daughter has just been killed in a crash. And on the other side of it, you know, I lost a son. Now, when people at traffic stops or crashes say, "You don't understand," I say, "I do understand. I've been there."

Personal: Grew up in Sharonville, now age 48; he and his wife of 25 years, Kim, live in Mason with their son, Christopher, 21.

Education: 1974 graduate of Moeller High School, 1978 graduate of Indiana State University with a bachelor's degree in criminology.

Employment: Joined Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy in December 1978. Trooper in 1979 at the Batavia post, transferred to Lebanon Post, 1982. Assigned to Hamilton Post since 1991. Promoted to lieutenant and post commander Aug. 2 Teaches traffic-enforcement courses at University of Cincinnati part-time.

Awards: A four-time winner of the Post Trooper of the Year Award and also District Trooper of the Year (1983).

Q: What will some of your priorities be?

Because of the number of crashes we've had with teenagers, we will continue strict enforcement. And when school starts again, we will target schools in our area, and we will continue to have programs there. We have to try to reach these kids by whatever means we can - either by education or by enforcement.

Q: Tell me about your connection to this post.

I've been here as a trooper, a sergeant and a lieutenant - and that's unusual. The highway patrol likes you to expand your knowledge in other areas of the state.

I know the post, and know how it operates. I feel that I'm well-respected here.

Q: Thinking back over your career, what were a couple of your more unusual experiences?

One guy I stopped, his car had no seat - and he was sitting in a lawn chair ... Another guy, he had a bungee cord right in front of him, from the driver's door to the passenger door, so the doors wouldn't fall off.

Q: What does it take to be a good highway patrolman?

You've got to be a bad guy and you've got to be a good guy. One minute, you're consoling somebody and the next minute, you're issuing somebody a citation. Basically, you have to rise to each occasion.

Q: If you could have one safety message get through to everybody, what would it be?

To the teenagers: You need to slow down. You need to buckle up. You can't take for granted your own capabilities.

Wherever you go, your bottom line is: You want to get there safely. Don't put your parents through what some other parents have gone through.

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