Get to Know HFC: Mike Ball enjoys being part of the Dearborn community
Growing up, HFC Campus Safety Supervisor and Clery Act Compliance Officer Mike Ball always had an interest in the military and military history.
“I liked the structure of the military and I’m also a World War II history buff,” said Ball. “My dad was in the U.S. Army and spent two years in Vietnam.”
For six years, Ball proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was in the Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FAST) Co. anti-terrorism unit and stationed in Vallejo, CA for two years. Next, he served as a Marine Embassy Guard for the U.S. Department of State and was stationed in the American Embassies in Rome, Italy and Tel Aviv, Israel for three years. This was during Operation: Desert Storm. In his final year, he served in the 3rd Light Armored Infantry Reconnaissance Battalion and was stationed in Twentynine Palms, CA. Ball’s final rank was sergeant before being honorably discharged from the USMC.
“I have fond memories of my time in the Marines,” he recalled. “I was proud to serve my country.”
A 22-year veteran of the Dearborn Police Department and former attorney
Born in Saginaw, Ball is the eldest of two sons. He has been married to Karen for more than 16 years. He has one stepdaughter and three grandchildren. The couple now lives in Grosse Ile, but Ball previously lived in Dearborn for more than 25 years.
“I have a commute now,” he said. “I used to ride my bike to the HFC campus.”
After graduating from Eisenhower High School in Saginaw and serving in the USMC, Ball enrolled at Delta College in University Center, where he earned his associate degree in liberal arts. Transferring to Michigan State University, he earned his bachelor’s degree in international relations from MSU’s James Madison College. He later earned his juris doctor from Wayne State University.
“I was drawn to police work like I was drawn to the military,” explained Ball. “I was part of the police explorer program when I was in high school. I planned to return to the State Department and being a foreign service officer, but there was a 4-year wait, so it came back to becoming a police officer.”
For 22 years, Ball was a police officer for the Dearborn Police Department. For five years, he worked as a labor relations attorney for Helveston & Helveston, PC in Detroit, where he represented fire departments.
“Law is another area I always had an interest in,” said Ball. “If I didn’t get into Wayne State, I wouldn’t have gone to law school because Wayne State was the only law school in the area I could afford to attend. I worked midnights at the DPD to put myself through law school during the day.”
Employment at HFC allowed him to stay in Dearborn
Ball retired from the DPD in 2018. It was serendipitous that a position at HFC opened up as he was in the process of retiring.
“Everything worked out,” said Ball. “I wanted to stay in Dearborn because I really liked living and working in this community. Dearborn has been home to me in many ways.”
Ball has been at the College for five years. He reports to HFC Campus Safety Manager Karen Schoen.
“It’s a real pleasure working with Mike,” said Schoen. “He manages the Clery Act Compliance requirements for HFC Campus Safety. His completion of the Clery Compliance Officer Certification is instrumental in maintaining the ever-evolving Clery Act requirements including the Annual Security Report.”
No two days at HFC are alike
Ball oversees nine HFC Campus Safety officers and 11 security contract officers. He begins his shift at 7:00 a.m. His first order of business is debriefing the midnight staff. He reviews all the incident reports, updates the daily crime log, makes accommodations for special events, and “handles whatever else comes my way.”
“I’ve known Mike for 30-plus years. We worked together for more than 20 years at the DPD,” said HFC Assistant Campus Safety Supervisor Luke Cosenza. “I’ve enjoyed co-managing the day-to-day operations here in Campus Safety with Mike, who is a proud veteran and a current member of the American Legion.”
In the next year, Ball and Schoen will oversee plans to upgrade the dispatch center and campus security cameras.
“No two days are alike here,” he said. “I enjoy working with the students. This is different than being a police officer, where I was patrolling the city. Here, my job is more customer-service oriented; it’s true community policing. It’s my job to ensure that the students have a positive educational experience and that employees have a positive work environment.”