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Citizen-Warriors: Third of police force serves in Idaho Army Guard

By Capt. Robert Taylor | Idaho National Guard | Sept. 10, 2018

MIDDLETON, Idaho – Army Capt. Haily Barley, a signal officer with the Idaho Army National Guard's 116th Brigade Support Battalion, sees a lot of similarities between her job as a police officer with the Middleton Police Department and her service in the Idaho Army National Guard.

"I'm pushed to my limits, both physically and mentally, at both jobs," she said. "But the best part is the people. You'll never meet more amazing people dedicated to helping or serving."

Barley should know about the type of people who do both. Out of the eight officers in the Middleton Police Department, three are members of the Idaho Army National Guard.

"I'm pretty proud to have those guys on our police department," said Alan Takeuchi, chief of the Middleton Police Department. "Not only are they serving their community in their civilian jobs, we also have guys serving their country. We couldn't ask for better officers at our police department."

Barley, one of the department's two school resource officers, is married to fellow police officer and Guard member, Army Capt. Mike Barley, who serves as the personnel officer with the Idaho Army Guard's 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment. The two were married in 2010 and hired by the department together in 2016. In the police department he serves as a team lead and field training officer.

Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hikley has similar jobs in both organizations. He's a police officer and is assigned to the military police section of the Idaho Army Guard's Installation Support Unit.

"A lot of what Guard Soldiers possess are the same qualities we look for in police officers," Takeuchi said. "I think the two go hand-in-hand with each other."

Specifically, Takeuchi values the experience, confidence and leadership skills Soldiers bring to his police force. He knows those qualities aren't developed in police officers overnight.

The department was established in 2014 with a part-time police chief and three officers. Today, its staff consists of eight officers, one full-time clerk and a part-time clerk. Takeuchi expects the department to continue to grow with the town's population, which numbered roughly 7,100 people as of 2016. As population grows, the Soldiers' leadership skills will be useful, he said, as the department expands to include captain and lieutenant positions.

In the meantime, Mike Barley said he enjoys being able to do a little bit of everything in the department without formal divisions and sections. He initially decided to become a police officer in 2011 because he needed a job before attending medical school. He said he liked being a cop so much he decided to forego becoming a doctor, even after being accepted into medical school.

Hikley, who grew up in Middleton and returned home two years ago to take a job with the department, was one of the officers Mike Barley trained.

"I came back here to try to keep the city the way I remember it," Hikley said, adding that he grew up wanting to be a police officer because almost everyone in his family was one.

That also led him to enlist and serve as a military police officer, deploying four times in the 18 years he's been in.

Takeuchi said the only challenge of having almost a third of his department in the Idaho Army Guard is scheduling overtime. He said officers don't mind covering to help each other out, but the overtime required to make it work can add up quickly for the small department. Takeuchi added that a long-term deployment for one or more of his officers would present additional challenges.

"We'd hate to lose someone for that long, but we understand that they are needed for a higher purpose," he said. "We would hold their spot no matter what."

However, none of the three Soldiers have been deployed long-term while working in the department.

Haily Barley said she feels fortunate she's able to be both a police officer and serve in the military, something she had wanted to do since childhood. She credits her great-grandmother for instilling the values of hard work, sacrifice and service into her.

"I chose a hard and sometimes thankless lifestyle, but every day I can serve and protect, it's worth it," she said.