Todd McFadden: Becoming a cop at age 45

He always thought he had more to offer than just nice drywall. So instead of settling down in his mid-forties, Todd McFadden joined the police academy.

Presented by: Our York Media
Written by: Kate Penn
Todd McFadden (Photo by Paul Chaplin for Our York Media)

It was during a quiet dinner at home when his wife popped the question. 

“What do you think about going into the police academy?” 

“That ship has long since sailed,” Todd McFadden remembers telling her.  

Sure, he’d wanted to go into law enforcement when he was younger, but life had kind of gotten in the way. 

He started a drywall contracting business with his brother, got married, and then had kids to support and a mortgage to pay. It just never seemed like the right time to change careers. 

And now, he was 44 years old. His kids were almost all grown up, leaving the house and going to college. It would be crazy for him to become a cop now. 

But that night he couldn’t get the idea out of his head. 

I thought I had a lot more to offer myself and society than nice drywall.

Todd McFadden

He wanted a job that he could be a proud of, to make a difference in someone’s life. 

“I thought I had a lot more to offer myself and society than nice drywall,” he says. 

So, he did the thing that he knew was crazy. He enrolled in the police academy.


It was a grueling year hanging drywall all day before going to class and trying to keep up with his 20-something-year-old classmates. 

He didn’t just keep up with them, though, he led the way. And at the age of 45, Todd graduated first in his class, with job offers from three different departments soon after graduation. 

He accepted a position with the Hellam Township Police Department and never looked back. 

Other than having to get up at 5 a.m. for work, he says it’s lived up to his hopes. 

“It’s fulfilling,” he says. “I feel like I’m making a difference in at least some people’s lives.” 

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