Police officers have roots in the township


By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Madison Township Police Department Sgt. Don Skinner, seated, and Patrol Officer Randy Bates, standing, share similar paths. Both grew up in the township, graduated from Groveport Madison High School and began their careers with the township in 1995.
Madison Township Police Department Sgt. Don Skinner, seated, and Patrol Officer Randy Bates, standing, share similar paths. Both grew up in the township, graduated from Groveport Madison High School and began their careers with the township in 1995.

Two Madison Township police officers, who also graduated within two years of each other from Groveport Madison High School, have spent two decades serving the community where they spent their childhood.

Sgt. Don Skinner moved into Blacklick Estates when he was three years old, graduated in 1988 and started working for the township in 1995. Patrol Officer Randy Bates grew up in Madison Township, graduated from Groveport High School and Eastland-Fairfield Career Center in 1990 and started working for the police department in 1995.

While their career paths followed a similar direction and they knew each other in high school, the road did detour at times for Skinner and Bates.

“I was a cadet in the Madison Township Police Department Explorer’s Program when I was in high school,” said Bates, who also served as a reserve officer in Mifflin Township from 1994-95. “I remember I had to wait until I was old enough to be in the Explorer program. I grew up in Sun Valley. I remember it as being a quiet place where most of the moms stayed at home, the dads went to work and there was no crime.”

Skinner attended Columbus State Community College, where he earned an emergency medical certification before going to the Police Academy in 1992 and becoming a certified Ohio police officer.

“From 1993 until 1995, I was a special deputy with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office,” said Skinner, who has held a variety of positions with the township during his 20-year tenure including school resource/bike officer, field training officer and detective. “Even though I was the first police officer in the Skinner family, I’m happy to say that I won’t be the last. My 21-year-old son is in the same police academy  I attended and is expected to graduate in the fall.”

Both officers have received recognition for their service to the department and the community. Bates was presented an outstanding service award in 1997 and Skinner received the department’s highest award, the medal of valor, and a letter of commendation from President George W. Bush.

In looking back over their mutual careers, both men laughed when they remembered a call they responded to a few years ago.

“An 80-year-old woman residing in an assisted living center in Canal Winchester called 911 and reported she couldn’t get out of her bedroom because a deer was blocking the way after jumping through her window,” said Skinner.

Bates picks up the story, “The deer literally had her pinned to her bed and she couldn’t get out of her room to get help. That’s why she called 911. We had to climb in through the window. We tied a rope around its neck, threw a sheet over its head and pulled it down the hallway to release it outside.”

Both police offers agree technology has changed the most and had the biggest impact on the way law enforcement is conducted today versus 20 years ago.

Skinner said when he and Bates began working for Madison Township, the department had three radio channels. Today there are hundreds. Reports were written out by hand, but computer skills are now an essential part of the job.

“The computer in the car is probably the best thing to happen in law enforcement,” said Bates. “We can access information and file reports a lot faster now.”

Both officers expect to retire from Madison Township.

“For me, it’s a comfort factor,” said Skinner. “This is the area I know and this is a calling for me. I’ve always wanted to serve the public. The community and the department have been very good to me. I take great pride in providing honest, professional, caring and down-to-earth policing every time I put on the Madison Township uniform. I believe in treating people as I would like to be treated and make it my business to give back to the communities I serve.”

“I’m satisfied here,” said Bates. “I know I’d miss it if I left. This is a small department and it makes it easier to follow up on something if you need to and you get to know the people you serve.”

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  1. It’s nice to see positive reporting, interest and bios of individuals of our safety forces. Having the pleasure of working, training and supervising these two fine officers through out their police careers was an honor during my tenure with the Madison Township Police Department. All members of our safety forces are exemplary individuals and represent the finest to our citizens and are to be commended.


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