Walking into campus police chief Mike Couch’s office, you’d expect to be intimidated by police gear: handcuffs, guns, billy clubs.
Instead you’re greeted by a talking cop cookie jar, a troll dressed up as a policeman and a bevy of law enforcement cars and figurines.
“I’m an avid antique collector,” says Couch, who first started his cop collection 10 years ago. “I’m always going to flea markets. Anytime I see police paraphernalia, whether it’s figurines, cars, books, I’ve been picking it up.”
His staff’s also contributed to the collection with birthday and Christmas gifts, including a cop doll wearing a Xavier security uniform and a toy car painted to match the campus patrol cars.
Highlights of his collection include an autographed picture of Don Knotts as Barney Fife in “The Andy Griffith Show” with a patch he wore on his costume, and a figurine of an English bobby that was made in Brazil during World War II.
“I’ve only seen one other one,” says Couch, “and it sold for $500.”
Couch doesn’t limit his collecting to police-related items, though.
“My passion at home is shaving mugs,” he says. “My dad is a retired barber and he gave me a collection of 140 shaving mugs. Over the years I’ve added to it and I now have over 200, including ceramic and sterling mugs and mugs from the battlefields of the Civil War.”
Even though Couch is right at home in the bidder’s chair—“Some of my fondest memories are of me at auctions at age 5 or 6 bidding on some small item for a quarter or 50 cents”—he’s moving to the other side. This spring he’s becoming a licensed auctioneer.
“I’m looking forward to working at auctions, seeing items, learning their value and maybe even picking up another police item for my collection.”