HOPEDALE — At a time when many of his high school classmates were getting ready to head off to college, Steve Mahan was answering 911 calls.
“One of my good friends was a police officer there (in Hopedale) and helped me get my foot in the door,” said Mahan, now a Hopedale police sergeant. “Looking back, I think I was a little too young for the job, but it made me really grow up quick. It was eye-opening.”
But the immense responsibilities of being involved in police work did not scare him away. He became an officer in 2003.
“It was something I always wanted to do, ever since I was 5 years old,” said Mahan. “My mother wrote it in my baby book that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up.”
Mahan has had numerous roles with the department. He started as a patrol officer and became a detective in 2009. He was promoted to sergeant in 2013, initially serving as a patrol supervisor and then a sergeant in the detective division. He returned to patrol, where he currently serves.
Mahan has had numerous memorable calls. About a decade ago, he said he and other officers got a call about a man threatening suicide. He had left notes to his family and disappeared. Police tracked the man for several hours, finally finding him in the woods in Mendon.
“He had a zip tie pulled tight around his neck, he couldn’t breathe,” said Mahan. “We were able to get to him and cut it off. Doctors said if we were there even a minute later, he would have died.”
Another call happened a few years ago when a man started firing a gun outside his home. Police arrived and had to force their way inside the home to find him.
“We found him on his bed, still holding his firearm,” said Mahan. “I was able to jump on him and disarm him. We got a search warrant for his home and we found a lot of illegal guns — he was a convicted felon and couldn’t own any guns. He had thousands of rounds of ammunition and at least 20 firearms — handguns, rifles, shotguns.”
Mahan works the midnight shift so he can spend more time with his family and coaching girls lacrosse. He also referees high school football games during the fall.
Even after 20 years, Mahan looks forward to work every day.
“I think the best part is the guys I work with and the people we deal with every day; we have a lot of positive reactions with the residents,” he said. “It’s a new thing every day. It’s not like you go into the office 9 to 5 every day. It’s fluid. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or [email protected]. For up-to-date public safety news, follow Norman Miller on Twitter @Norman_MillerMW or on Facebook at facebook.com/NormanMillerCrime.