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50 Badges: Chattanooga Police Officer Michael Ampthor – Tennessee

Raised to serve, Tennessee officer patrols with positive attitude

By Dan Campana

Asked what advice he would give to a new or young officer, Chattanooga Police Officer Michael Ampthor said they must “work to be part of the area they serve.”

“Do not be afraid to get out of the patrol car and meet the members of the community,” said Ampthor, a patrol officer who joined Chattanooga police four years ago.

Ampthor works in the neighborhood policing unit and exemplified his own suggestion when he stopped by an Easter egg hunt – and wound up stealing the show with his dance moves. A smile on his face, Ampthor showed no signs of self-doubt as he swiveled his hips and dropped low to the grass while dancing with neighborhood children and the Easter Bunny. He even picked up a hug of thanks from one mother.

The moment was captured on video by a local TV station, but, those who work with Ampthor said his spirit of community service is on display even when there are no cameras around.

“Like any job I have had, I always work to make the best of it every day. Engaging with citizens on a daily basis makes it easier to respond to calls and carry out regular work functions,” Ampthor explained. “Interacting with community members is also important in order to help rebuild trust in the police that some individuals have come to lose. The drive to engage with citizens is based on the hope that I can improve an individual’s day even the slightest amount.”

Ampthor grew up in family and community atmospheres which taught him the importance of helping others. That proved to be his motivation to become a police officer and to want to make life better for the people in the city he serves.

“Being someone people feel they can turn to for big or small things when needed gives me great satisfaction,” he shared.

(Photos courtesy of the Chattanooga Police Department)

Ampthor cites respectfulness as a key character trait he possesses as a police officer. He aims to treat others with courtesy, kindness, dignity and civility.

“It is an important thing to do every day, not just as a police officer, but as a person. Respect is something everyone deserves until they give you a reason not to,” he said.

While the music, smiles and laughs are the video’s most obvious clues Ampthor connected with residents, it’s clear a level of mutual respect was gained amid the fun that Sunday afternoon in April. It all feeds the pride and passion Ampthor believes is necessary fuel for officers around the country.

“Today, wearing the badge means serving the community and working to make it better for all law-abiding citizens,” he said, adding two more key pieces of advice. “Have a positive attitude and make sure you return home each night to your family.”

Read the entire 50 Badges series here.