Officer Austin Grunden of Hayden graduated the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in June of 2021 after three months. He has been an officer with the North Vernon Police Department since June 8, 2020.
Officer Grunden’s father, Shannon, has been a reserve officer for North Vernon Police Department (NVPD) for years. Officer Grunden said doing ride alongs and building relationships with the other officers in the department “really solidified why I wanted to join this profession.”
Before being hired on at NVPD, the 23-year-old graduated from Jennings County High School in 2016 and worked at Lowe’s Distribution in North Vernon for three summers.
His parents are Stephanie and Shannon Grunden of Hayden and he has two siblings, his brother, Brayton, 27, and sister, Jaiden, 21.
Officer Grunden attended Franklin College and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. He enjoys spending time with his friends and family, especially his 6-month-old nephew, Kash.
When asked what he loves about working in law enforcement, Officer Grunden replied, “I love serving the people of North Vernon in whatever way that they need me. Helping people when they feel as if they cannot help themselves makes this job so rewarding.”
NVPD Chief Keith Messer said of Officer Grunden, “Austin has been an exceptional officer for the department. Austin is a compassionate, thorough, and an optimistic individual that brings a level of enthusiasm unlike any other.” Chief Messer continued, saying, “It is always exciting to work with Austin. With his creativity and innovation, Austin will have a very successful career.”
Officer Grunden is looking forward to continuing to build a relationship with the citizens in the North Vernon community.
“I hope to continue to be a positive role model for this agency, my co-workers, and my brother and sister officers across the nation.”
His goal is to be an instructor for the local city police department. He is unsure of what area to pursue at this time, though he enjoys doing Defensive Tactics. Officer Grunden said NVPD Sergeant Andrew Richmond has piqued his interest with his great leadership and knowledge of Defensive Tactics.
Officer Grunden is one of four young men who have recently joined the ranks at NVPD and are leading the way for the new generation of police officers for the North Vernon Police Department.