New faces on force



Two Jackson County natives are the newest members of the Brownstown Police Department.

Blake McCrary, 27, of Brownstown had been a reserve officer with the department since October 2015 and recently was hired full time to fill the vacancy of Officer Steve Scarlett, who retired after 19 years of service.

The hiring of Jordan Hawn, 24, of Seymour puts the force at seven officers.

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Both men were sworn in during a recent Brownstown Town Council meeting.

Earlier this month, Police Chief Tom Hanner announced McCrary was moving up to a full-time officer. He also said a new officer who was in the middle of training resigned, and he was going to delay the hiring process.

The next day, though, Hanner said he received a call from council President Sally Lawson telling him to offer the job to the remaining candidate in the pool, which was Hawn.

Hawn is part time and will make $17.50 per hour through the rest of the year, and then most likely will become full time. McCrary’s hourly rate is $18.25.

They will attend the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield at separate times. Officers have one year from the date they are hired to complete the academy, which offers three sessions per year.

Both McCrary, a 2008 graduate of Brownstown Central High School, and Hawn, a 2012 Seymour High School graduate, were drawn to law enforcement at an early age.

McCrary said he grew up wanting to become a police officer or a firefighter, and he’s now both because he has been with the Brownstown Volunteer Fire Department since 2011 and currently is a lieutenant.

Once his brother became an officer with the Columbus Police Department, McCrary said he learned what the job entails.

“I decided to put in for a reserve spot here, and I thought it would be more beneficial because I could actually do the job, see how well I could do at it, see how well I would like it and there would really be almost no strings attached,” he said. “This wouldn’t be my career, so if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have to worry about it.”

He wound up liking it.

“It’s one of those things that I came in all of the time, I loved it, I enjoyed it and decided right then and there this is what I’m going to make a career out of,” McCrary said.

Hawn said becoming a police officer fulfilled a lifelong dream.

“Whenever I was a kid, it was something I had seen police officers and thought, ‘Yeah, that’s what I want to do one day,'” he said.

McCrary was a maintenance worker with the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Brownstown Unit for four years and two months before becoming a jail officer at the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown in April 2016.

Hawn worked at Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals in Seymour after high school and was hired as a jail officer for the Jennings County Jail in North Vernon in June 2016.

Learning of Scarlett’s retirement in May, McCrary said the time was right to move from reserve to full time.

“I decided this would probably be the best place for me to get in because it would be an easy transition for me,” he said. “I already worked here as a reserve, and as soon as I got hired, they put me right on the road on Steve’s shift, so I already know most of what I’m doing. This is really the best fit for me.”

Hawn said he saw a post on the department’s Facebook page about hiring an officer and decided to apply.

“There were other places opened up throughout Indiana, but I wanted to stay closer to home,” he said. “Brownstown was pretty appealing to me. Whenever I came in and met everybody, I had seen it was a great group of guys and would be a great place to work. I was pretty excited about it.”

Being offered the job created more excitement.

“My wife, she has backed me 100 percent. She was really hopeful for me and everything, and whenever I got the call, we’ve both been pretty ecstatic ever since,” Hawn said.

McCrary did his 40-hour prebasic training and more than 400 hours of field officer training as a reserve.

Even with a brother who is a police officer, McCrary said he didn’t know what to expect.

“I remember the first time I pulled somebody over, it was just mind-blowing all of the stuff you have to worry about and do and all of the communication that goes on with it,” he said. “It was nerve-racking, but I learned a lot, and it has gotten me to where I’m at today.”

Hawn, on the other hand, is just beginning his training.

“It has been great so far,” he said. “Everybody here seems very knowledgeable, and any questions I have, they are very helpful. I’m kind of bouncing around between everybody right now and just getting a feel for everybody. They’ve all got little pieces they want to give.”

Both men will receive even more training at the law enforcement academy, which runs Monday through Friday for 16 weeks.

“It’s going to be something new, so I’m pretty excited about it. I can’t wait to go,” Hawn said.

“It’s very disciplined up there,” McCrary said. “It’s not something you do on a daily basis, and you’re going to be doing it for 16 weeks. … It will be fun. It will be tough. I’m excited to go through it.”

Hawn and McCrary both said they are excited about serving the community.

“I’ve always wanted to give back and help people, and I feel like this would be a great spot to do it. That’s why I’m here,” Hawn said.

It’s extra-special for McCrary since it’s in his hometown.

“Growing up here, I’ll have access to helping people in the community with whatever I can do,” he said. “I’m familiar with the community, the people in it, the town, the streets. I really have a desire to help people, and this is the profession that basically gives you the best chance to help somebody.”

Hanner said it will make a huge difference to have seven full-time officers by June 2018, when both new officers will have received all of their training and completed the academy.

“I need younger recruits coming in here, and they’ll bring a proactive element to the table,” Hanner said. “They want a career in law enforcement. When you bring in a new candidate, that’s something that you want to see, that they are going to go out here and strive to do good and fulfill their dream. If they truly want to be in law enforcement, you’re going to reap the rewards of that.

“We started getting most of the department over 10 years of service taking on other roles, so it’s good to bring in that proactive element that’s going to be working those shifts,” he said. “We’re excited as a department to get two new guys fresh, and we want to keep them here for 20-plus years.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”McCrary file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Blake McCrary

Age: 27

Hometown: Brownstown

Residence: Brownstown

Education: Brownstown Central High School (2008); attended University of Southern Indiana

Occupation: Officer with the Brownstown Police Department and lieutenant with the Brownstown Volunteer Fire Department

[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Hawn file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Jordan Hawn

Age: 24

Hometown: Seymour

Residence: Seymour

Education: Seymour High School (2012)

Occupation: Officer with the Brownstown Police Department


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