Saltwter Portrait

Hunter Bordley: To protect and serve

UD officer comes back from near-debilitating accident
June 6, 2017

Hunter Bordley's career as a police officer nearly was derailed before it even had a chance to begin.

Four years ago, Bordley was struck riding his moped along the Forgotten Mile when a car swerved into the traffic lane and hit him, throwing him off his ride.

"I didn't walk for six months," he said. "It was very scary."

He was told by doctors that he would not be able to run again. Determined not to let the accident set him back, Bordley did a year of physical therapy, which got him back to jogging and swimming.

Despite the occasional aches and pains, the 24-year-old Bordley has charged full steam ahead, plunging into a career with the University of Delaware Police Department, a full-service department with 55 officers in its employ.

Bordley, a native of Townsend, said officers undergo the same training as Delaware State Police and deal with all manner of calls, from noise complaints to robbery. He said he likes law enforcement because it enables him to help others and keep bad guys off the streets.

"We see a lot of repeat offenders, and I love to get them off the streets. I love to make the community a safer place," he said. "I love the thrill of going to work and not knowing what you're going to get into that day. You never know what's going to happen. I like being able to be a mentor for the younger kids. Show them that police aren't bad. We're there to help."

Bordley was honored May 15 by the Newark Rotary Club as University of Delaware's Police Officer of The Year for his service. The award was voted on by Bordley's peers, quite a feat considering he is only in his second year as an officer, having joined the department in April 2015. Bordley received three commendations his rookie year, and his officer of the year award was due in part to a number of difficult arrests, including apprehending an armed burglary suspect.

"I was surprised. I didn't think I was going to get it being the new guy. It still hasn't sunken in yet," he said. "It's Officer of the Year, but it's a team award. Every incident I was involved in, I wasn't alone. Officers, dispatchers and so on down the line, we all work together to get stuff done."

A law enforcement career was seemingly inevitable for Bordley. His father was a 31-year veteran of the Delaware State Police Troop 2 in Bear, and other relatives were also in law enforcement.

"I wanted to follow in his footsteps," Bordley said. "He led by example."

Being the son of a police officer encouraged him to walk a straight line in life.

"You don't want to embarrass your parent. It's setting an example. It's challenging because you want to be a kid at times. You live and you learn but for the most part, he set a great example for me," Bordley said.

He said he also considers Starboard owner Steve Montgomery a mentor and influence on his career track. Bordley's family owns a beach house outside Rehoboth Beach, where he lived for five summers. During that time, Bordley worked at the Dewey Beach restaurant in all kinds of jobs, from busboy to bouncer.

"He taught me dedication. He taught me hard work. He taught me putting in the long hours pays off," Bordley said of Montgomery. "He showed me I can achieve whatever I want to achieve if I put my mind to it. Monty taught me everything."

He said his favorite thing about the beach area was the food choices.

"It's the mom-and-pop restaurants, it's not all chains," Bordley said. "I love Fins. I love the people. I love the atmosphere. A lot of good restaurants. I love them all."

Bordley had majored in criminal justice at American International College, where he was on a wrestling scholarship. He said he took too many blows to the head and had to give up the sport. He then transferred to Stevenson University outside Baltimore but left after his accident. Bordley then enrolled in law enforcement classes at Delaware Technical Community College, which allowed him to take six months of training with the Delaware State Police.

Ultimately, Bordley said he would love to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms after he gets his degree from UD. He said he would like to work for an agency where he doesn't have to move from the East Coast and can still have a family life.