News and Tribune

Clark County

June 16, 2013

Son in law enforcement

It's like-father, like-son for Spainhour family in law enforcement



The veteran officer, it turns out, had plenty of tips for his son.

“My advice was to treat everybody the way you want to be treated,” Mac said. “People that break the law know they are breaking the law, for the most part, and there is a chance to be caught, but treat everyone with respect.”

Mac said he continues to impress upon his son the importance of being proactive in the community he serves and to get to know the people in the area he patrols. He tells Bo when he is in rural parts of the county he should stop and introduce himself to the farmer mending a fence, and return later with a fellow CO to introduce him to the farmer.

“It is about being part of the community,” Mac said.

Mac said he also stresses to Bo the value of working diligently at his duties and that a strong work ethic will help him to more easily be part of the law enforcement community.

“It doesn’t matter if your uniform is blue, brown or green,” Mac said. “A hard-working police officer can recognize a hard-working police officer.”

What has certainly been passed down from father to son is the love of working for the DNR.

“If God swooped down right now and said, ‘Mac, we are going to start you all over, age 22. You can have any job you want.’ I would say ‘conservation officer,’” Mac said. “And, there is not a lot of people who can say they would do that.”

And there is really no wonder why the Spainhours share a passion for the job.

While most people punch a clock to work eight hours in front of a glowing monitor, the Spainhours’ office includes 27,000-acre Clark State Forest, Falls of the Ohio State Park, Charlestown State Park, Deam Lake State Recreation area and several nature preserves, and that’s just Clark County.

While Bo said he has enjoyed being a CO, he, and his wife, are learning what Mac has known for a long time — that the career requires sacrifice. Both men said conservation officers are sometimes called out to suddenly leave an event or a family meal to respond to a call.

Mac said his wife and Bo’s mother, Shelli Spainhour, has been a great partner who has understood the sometimes difficult nature of the work. And Shelli, who worried about the safety of her husband for several decades, now has to worry about her son for several decades more.

Bo, who also has started teaching traffic-stop strategy and tactics classes at law enforcement academies, said his caring, and sometimes worried, mother has reminded him, “You need to be really careful because there is no such thing as a typical traffic stop”, to which he replies, “I know, mom. I am a traffic-stop instructor.”

Mac said some of the people who he built relationships during his career now approach him to say they feel comfortable that his son is the person filling his shoes.

“I am very proud that he is doing what he is doing,” Mac said. “But, I am more proud of him for being the officer that he is.”

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