Shaun King


On July 24, 2015, the Weirton, W.Va., Police Department announced the hiring of three new officers for the force. All three men were celebrated for bringing some much needed youth to an aging department in the sleepy rural city 35 miles outside of Pittsburgh. Zach Springer was just 20. Adam Mortimer was 21. And the old head among them was Stephen Mader, who was 24.

Maybe they knew it. Maybe they didn’t. But Stephen Mader was a find, a gem, a blessing for that little department. Even though he was just 24 when they hired him, Stephen Mader was already a bonafide hero — one of the good guys. Mader had spent four years in the Marines. In the announcement that he was hired by the Weirton Police Department, I noticed that it said Mader was a Marine. I took a chance and Googled “Stephen Mader Marines” and immediately found several stories of a Marine named Stephen Mader who served in Helmand Province in Afghanistan. A special report was done on him and his amazing explosive-sniffing dog, Maxx. This Stephen Mader joined the Marines in 2009 and became an improvised explosive device dog handler with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6.

I couldn’t verify for sure if it was the same man. It definitely looked like him. Then I searched his name on Facebook and there he was — Stephen Mader from Weirton, West Virginia, a Marine, with his trusted dog Maxx. It was him — except now, Mader is no longer a police officer. He got fired. While his hiring made the local news there in Weirton, his termination has gone national.  Bad police officers are known for keeping their jobs in spite of brutality, corruption, harassment and even murder. The Chicago Police Department has hundreds of officers with 20 or more brutality complaints. Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who used a deadly chokehold on Eric Garner, not only avoided prosecution, but has kept job and received bonuses over the past two years. He’s somehow bringing in a salary two to three times the average schoolteacher in spite of his actions in Garner’s death, as well as costing New York City in several other lawsuits before that.

It’s a rare thing to see a police officer get fired. When it happens, it’s normally for two reasons — they’ve committed a crime that they will likely be found guilty of or they are bucking the system somehow and have seriously pissed off their bosses. Read more here :