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State trooper's son hopes to follow in dad's footsteps

August 09, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - About 19 years ago, Michael Hegedus Sr. moved west from a job in Washington, D.C., to Washington County to become a Maryland State Police officer.

His son, a Boonsboro High School graduate and a former U.S. Marine, recently opted to go in the opposite direction, geographically, to carry on the family tradition.

Soon, 1st Sgt. Michael Hegedus Sr., who leads the Hagerstown barrack's investigative division, will not be the only one with that name working out of a Maryland State Police barrack. His son, Michael Hegedus Jr., is slated to finish at the Maryland State Police Academy in October before spending an additional month there in an associate's degree program.

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Hegedus Jr., who was discharged from the Marine Corps in December 2002 after serving for four years, was named president of the 121st class of the academy in Pikesville, Md.

Hegedus Sr., whose uncles were employed by police agencies in California and Pennsylvania, said it seemed likely for years that his son would join the military and follow in his footsteps with police work, and that he does not think of the danger his son may face on the job.

"You're just proud that your son follows in your footsteps," he said.

Hegedus Jr. said the experience at the 26-week academy is similar to boot camp.

"There's really no difference, other than more book work," he said. "But at least there's no sand fleas."

Hegedus Jr. also said he would have liked to have served abroad because he trained with and became close to the soldiers in his unit. He remains on "recall" status through 2006.

Now, Hegedus Jr. is trying to get through the rest of his days at the academy with as few demerits as possible. He said students are not allowed to leave on weekends if they have accrued 10 or more demerits for reasons such as wearing a uniform that is not properly pressed or having dust in a bedroom.

Finishing the strict and physically demanding academy is a task his father said he does not envy.

"I wouldn't want to go through it again," said Hegedus Sr. "You're theirs for 26 weeks. It's tough."

And though Hegedus Sr. has the lofty position of having a part in nearly every major investigation at the department, his son likely will spend time patrolling the roads to start his police career.

Hegedus Sr. told his son that he can expect a lot of tall tales and sob stories.

"Oh, the excuses people have for speeding. This one woman said she had to go to the bathroom, ran into the weeds and just went to the bathroom," Hegedus Sr. recalled.

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