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Meet Major Matt Sturgeon '89

April 17, 2020
By Carroll High School
Riverside Police Department Major Matt Sturgeon '89

What are your job responsibilities and duties?

My biggest responsibility is overseeing the operations of everybody assigned to the Riverside Police Department road patrol. 

What are the daily tasks you perform.

To cover the day, we have two, twelve-hour shifts.  My direct link to the 22 patrol guys are my four sergeants.  I monitor them, and they monitor the patrol guys. I’m not actually out on patrol unless needed. If there is a critical incident, I respond.  On a day-to-day basis, it’s a lot of policy revision, and I split grant writing duties with the other major. There’s also a lot of use of force reviews, pursuit reviews, and any felony reports I review after the sergeants. 

Why is your work considered essential?

At a time when we’re dealing with COVID-19, but also in general, police are often referred to as “The Thin Blue Line”.  We’re a nation, state, city, and county of laws.  No matter what, we provide support to people who can’t take care of themselves. There are still people who victims of crime and medical emergencies. Even during a pandemic, nothing stops.  We prepare our operations for how we’re going to respond to [particular cases], how are we going to patrol, how are we going to keep our guys protected, how we’re going to support our fire department.

Riverside Police Department

What precautions are you taking to ensure coronavirus safety?

With coronavirus, [criminal] activity has dropped greatly, and we’ve rolled into Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) and Emergency Command Center.  Those have been up and running since early March.  As this whole thing has unfolded, we’ve done it in stages with a blend of what the Centers for Disease Control has been sending us through update portals that go directly to police departments and other services we subscribe to.  We’ve also been monitoring what’s going on globally, within the country, and most importantly to us, what’s going on within the state of Ohio. Initially, all we drew down our response to different types of calls and instead doing everything we can over the telephone.  This has become vital for us to lean on our dispatchers.  They’re screening calls to see if it can be conducted over a telephone call.  That has allowed us to dramatically decrease the in-person response.  When it all kicked off, we started social distancing and pulled all of [the City of Riverside’s] Personal Protection Equipment out of storage and took count between us and the fire department to determine how much we have and how long we can go on with it.  The mayor also declared an emergency which gives us the ability to supersede contracts to give us more flexibility with our staff.  Our guys are wearing N-95 masks and gloves when they respond to calls. When we’re arresting somebody, we put them into a surgical mask, and they’re evaluated at the Montgomery County Jail for COVID-19 screening.

What are the lessons you learned at Carroll High School that are helping you navigate this situation professionally and personally?

The biggest thing is the quality and level of education that I was able to receive at Carroll, and part of it is faith-based.  You understand that you have to be prepared. Going through Carroll, the University of Dayton, the police academy, and 25 years of working in law enforcement prepared me for the moment; it isn’t too big.  It gives you a chance to think critically. The worst thing you could do is just react without sitting down, planning, and thinking about the consequences of which direction you’re going to go. Dealing with my job in general, it’s always easier when you have a strong faith to fall back on.  You see the worst in people, and it’s easy to get cynical about why things are happening. My faith has allowed me to realize always that there are way more good people in the world than bad.

Editors' Note: During the coronavirus pandemic, we are featuring alumni who work in essential fields to learn more about how social distancing and other changes are affecting their critical professions.  Please contact Director of Communications Michael Franz '05 if you know an alumni with an essential job who would like to share their story with the Carroll community.

Posted in Familiar Voices

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