Robert Horton and Michele Wharton will become the newest officers in the Middletown Police Department on Monday, just four days graduating from the New Castle County Police Academy on April 17.
Robert Horton and Michele Wharton will become the newest officers in the Middletown Police Department on Monday, just four days graduating from the New Castle County Police Academy on April 17. The cadets, who started their academy training in October, will fill two vacancies in the department, which last added an officer directly out of the academy in 2012. Both officers will undergo three months of field training before being assigned to regular duty.
Q What made you want to pursue a career as a police officer?
Horton: When I went into college, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted a career where I could really help people, and I felt the best way to do that would be in law enforcement. I started taking criminal justice classes and enjoyed them very much so after my sophomore year, I applied to Bethany Beach Police Department and got a job there as a seasonal. From there, I just knew it was the right career for me.
Wharton: I always saw myself going into law enforcement. The things that really attracted me were that you’re not sitting behind a desk all day, you get the chance to do something different each day and the opportunity to help other people, as well as use a skill set that I have.
Q What was it like to go through the New Castle County Police Academy?
Horton: Working at the police department, they told me to get ready for a lot of [physical training], but what they said couldn’t even come close to what it actually turned out to be. It was a bit of a shock.
Wharton: I know a lot of people in law enforcement who have gone through it, so I got a lot of insight into the academy prior to getting here, which helped out a lot. But you never know what’s going to happen the next day, because they don’t tell us. That’s probably the most interesting part.
Q What do your family and friends think about you wanting to be a police officer?
Horton: My family has stuck by me all through college. They do express their concerns a little bit, just because of the nature of the job and how dangerous it is, but that aside, they’re completely, 100 percent behind me every step of the way.
Wharton: Everyone’s been really supportive.
Q What are you most looking forward to when it comes to being an officer with the Middletown Police Department?
Horton: Being able to give back to the community. When I was applying for police jobs, the thing I was really looking for was a department that was community oriented. In Bethany, that was one of the main things that we were taught, that you need to be all about the community that you serve. Once I got to know the command staff and the other officer [at MPD], I was able to see that this department was everything I learned a department should be. It went from me not having thought about applying in Middletown to being the department that I wanted to get right away.
Wharton: The thing that attracted me most to Middletown is that you get the opportunities to have the days where you can be proactive, as well as the days where you’re going to have a lot of calls. You have days where you can choose the type of stuff you want to do, whether it be traffic, looking for drugs or just talking to kids playing basketball. I love how Middletown is such a community. I first realized that after the first Relay For Life I participated in as a season [officer]. People really love to come out and participate in everything that is Middletown and I think that is something you don’t see in a lot of other areas. It’s still got that small, Americana-type charm that I really like.
MORE ABOUT HORTON
NAME Robert G. Horton
HOMETOWN Milford, Del.
EDUCATION Milford High School, Class of 2008; bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from University of Delaware, Class of 2012
WORK HISTORY Three summers as a seasonal police officer with Bethany Beach Police Department
FAVORITE BOOK “Game of Thrones” series by George R.R. Martin
HOBBIES Physical fitness, going to the beach
MORE ABOUT WHARTON
NAME Michele L. Wharton
HOMETOWN North Wilmington
EDUCATION Padua Academy, Class of 2007’ Associate degree in criminal justice from Delaware Technical Community College, Class of 2012
WORK HISTORY Two summers as a seasonal officer with the Middletown Police Department
FAVORITE BOOK “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
HOBBIES Biking, volleyball, swimming