As a teenager growing up in Ogdensburg, Mark J. Shaver dreamed of a career in law enforcement, envisioning himself in a New York State Police uniform.
Right career, wrong state.
As peoples lives change, so do our goals, said the St. Lawrence County native, 50, who joined the Pennsylvania State Police in 1990 and recently was promoted to lieutenant and director of that agencys Firearms Division, Bureau of Records and Identification.
I have had an enjoyable career to date, and have had many interesting assignments, he said.
Lt. Shavers latest assignment, which was announced by Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan in January, puts him in a position to deal with a public safety issue that has been in the headlines following several high-profile shootings around the nation.
The main purpose of the division is to promote public safety by ensuring that those individuals who are prohibited from purchasing and possessing a firearm cannot acquire one, Lt. Shaver said. It will definitely be a challenge.
The newly-minted lieutenant is one of three Shaver siblings who entered the public-safety field, though he is the farthest from home: Shawn R. Shaver, 42, is an Ogdensburg police detective, while Charles W. Shaver, 52, is a corrections officer in Ogdensburg. They are among the seven children of Charles J. and Betty J. Shaver, who are looking forward to celebrating their 60th anniversary in May, Det. Shaver noted.
Mr. and Mrs. Shaver were not in law enforcement, nor are the other four Shaver children. What, then, attracted the trio to lives in public safety?
I think we all believe in doing what is right and want to help those who cannot help themselves, Lt. Shaver said.
But his particular passion for law enforcement stood out even as a young man.
Did I know growing up that I wanted to be a corrections officer? No, said Charles W., recounting how he joined that profession in 1984 in search of a good job with the potential for long-term employment.
My brother Mark always wanted to be a police officer, he said, a lead Det. Shaver followed.
Lt. Shaver graduated from Ogdensburg Free Academy in 1981. After attending SUNY Canton, he became a law enforcement specialist in the U.S. Air Force in 1983. He joined the municipal police force in Lancaster, Pa. in 1987, but still had his sights set on becoming a trooper. That ambition was realized three years later, when he enlisted in the Pennsylvania State Police.
Following graduation from the academy, he was assigned to Troop L in Schuylkill Haven, Pa., followed by postings around Pennsylvania at Ephrata, Lancaster, Fern Ridge, Avondale and the departments Bureau of Integrity and Professional Standards. He was promoted to corporal in 1996 and sergeant a decade later.
It was definitely a surprise, Lt. Shaver said of his latest promotion. There were a lot of qualified candidates, so it was an honor to be chosen.
Lt. Shaver and his wife, Kate J., reside in Lancaster County, Pa. and have five children, Chelsi B., Kristi L., Paige E., Kayli A. and Samantha J.