McARTHUR — Chief Thomas Heaton, who had initially taken over as interim chief after former Chief Matt Kight left the department, has since been voted in by McArthur Village Council as the Chief of Police for the McArthur Police Department. This new move follows an over two decade career in local law enforcement.
Originally from Medina County in northeast Ohio, Heaton graduated from Medina High School and attended a two year program focusing on criminal justice at Medina County Career Center. From there, he spent another two years at Hocking Technical College for a Police Science Degree while also receiving training as an Ohio Peace Officer through their academy in 1999.
For Heaton, being involved in law enforcement was always a career path that interested him.
“It’s just kinda been one of those things. I’ve wanted to be involved in law enforcement my whole life,” explained Heaton.
His law enforcement career began back in 2000 at the Vinton County Sheriff’s Office where he was hired on by the former sheriff Don Peters. Heaton spent 16 years with the sheriff’s department at a variety of positions ranging from a volunteer Special Deputy and dispatcher to his many years as a school resource deputy and a road deputy, both positions he held for seven years.
Heaton joined the McArthur Police Department after being recruited by former Chief Kight back in 2016 where he started as a Captain and Road Officer until taking the position as chief. A year into his service with MPD, Heaton became a K9 Officer with his first partner Eva who has since passed. His current partner Zara has helped on numerous investigations as a tracking and bite dog.
Most recently, Chief Heaton and Zara were called out to assist the Vinton County Sheriff’s Department in a search for a feeling suspect at Lake Hope State Park. The endeavor ended successfully as the suspect was found and taken into sheriff’s custody.
Heaton has specialized training in multiple areas including OVI detection, Advanced Roadside Intoxication Detection, crime scene processing, and evidence processing. This all on top of being a taser instructor for the past decade as well as a basic emergency technician from Vinton County EMS since the year 2002.
As for goals for the department, Heaton wants to help restore the quality of law enforcement and the view of law enforcement amongst the village of McArthur and the wider community. He hopes to continue to train high quality officers and build a reputation as a department that does so in order to help those they train move on to the next steps in their careers.