MARTINS FERRY - A police chief's job is not an easy task, but Martins Ferry Police Chief John McFarland handles it quite well. But McFarland's influence in the city of Martins Ferry reaches further than just the police department.
Many of his officers would describe him as great guy who really cares about his guys and the community.
McFarland, or "Mac" as he is often times called, also coaches junior high football.
Martins Ferry Police Chief John?McFarland is October’s “Hey!?That’s my Neighbor” honoree. This photo was taken when he was sworn in as chief of the MFPD. Pictured are Chief McFarland's father, Richard McFarland, Chief McFarland, his wife, Tiffany, son Mike, and his mother, Patty. In front are his sons, Rich and John.
"I love kids," said Mcfarland. "I try to talk to them and teach them right from wrong."
It has been said that if kids need a ride to practice, he will load as many as he can in his truck and take them. As well as in the summer, kids are always stopping into his office.
"(Mac) loves kids. He is a good chief. Anything you need, he is right there. He will do anything for you," said Betty Suto, who serves as the code administrator for the city of Martins Ferry. "Mac also volunteers for coaching football. He is a good guy and definitely a family man."
McFarland and his wife, Tiffany, a first grade teacher with Martins Ferry schools, have three sons: Mike (18), Richie (11) and John (8).
When Mac took over as chief in April of 2010, he allowed many of his officers to create and run community events for the kids and residents of Ferry. Some of these events include the Bicycle Rodeo, Halloween in the Park and Christmas in the Park.
Since becoming chief, Mac has made several changes, the biggest one being the addition of the K-9 Unit with handler Chad Kuhn and Ecko. Both of these officers have been a huge asset to Ferry.
After the passing of Drug Task Force Commander Tim Zdanski in September, Mac was chosen to take the reigns. Along with the 21 officers he has in the Martins Ferry Police Department, Mac has nine to 10 officers in Belmont County on the Drug Task Force.
"I am extremely pleased with the proactive approach in which he runs the city's police department, and we are proud to have him as the commander of the Belmont County Drug Task Force," said Martins Ferry Mayor Paul Riethmiller who appointed McFarland as chief.
In the year that he has been in charge of the Drug Task Force, along with numerous busts, Mac has worked tirelessly to try and find funding for each and every one of these guys, since most the of the drug work they do is after their regular police shifts.
With the Belmont County Drug Task Force, he is working to implement new programs that will promote drug awareness and stress the importance to kids - not only in Ferry, but all of Belmont County - the reasons for not doing drugs.
"He is a great guy and really cares about his guys," said Patrolman Steve Veltri, who has worked for the Martins Ferry Police Department for three years. "He cares a lot about the community. He's the chief. Mac does what he needs to do to make the city safe. He cares more than anyone knows."