A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Michael “Mike” Candiano

A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Michael “Mike” Candiano

With all the moving parts of the police system, it is important to have someone in charge to make sure everything is running smoothly. It is even more essential that the person placed in this role is determined, responsible, and fit to be a leader. Michael "Mike" Candiano is the Chief of Police for the Portage Police Department, and there is no doubt he lives up to those standards. With everything that he is responsible for in this role and everything he has accomplished so far, it is clear that he works hard and cares about what he is contributing to the community. 

Candiano has been living in Valparaiso since he was 10 years old. He graduated from Valpo High School, and later went on to college at Indiana University Bloomington and Indiana University Northwest. After graduating from college, he went on to become a police officer. 

Though Candiano has been the Chief of Police for three years now, he started out with various roles within the department. These roles include patrol, high school SRO, and four years as captain of the patrol division before earning his current title. 

“When I worked in patrol, essentially, I’d get calls, go to them, and work through them. I was out making traffic stops or doing things like that,” Candiano said. “Once I started moving up, there were all these other things I never thought about, such as budgets, policies, things like building maintenance. If the cars break down, I have to order new cars. These are all the things that are behind the scenes that have to be done.” 

Candiano understands the responsibility and importance of a person in charge. It is essential to have someone in his position to ensure that things are running smoothly, the community is being served, and any problems are getting taken care of. His favorite part of the job is interacting with the public, and working with everyone on his team. He enjoys public speaking and attending events with the people of the community. 

“I actually enjoy the public side of it; speaking engagements, talking to the community, getting more involved with individuals who actually live in the community,” Candiano said. “I actually enjoy it, which I think is strange, because I used to be terrified of it.”

All of these responsibilities can become overwhelming, and it may seem difficult to manage a work-life balance. However, Candiano has a very supportive family with whom he finds time to enjoy lots of activities, such as vacations and family nights. He also has a wonderful team at the Portage Police Department on which he can rely. 

“A lot of things that happen on the weekends and at nights at work I can usually handle with phone calls,” Candiano said. “I have a good staff, a good administrative team, and good supervisors who are out there, so they can filter out most of the issues we have. A lot of that doesn't have to come to me unless it's something big.” 

Outside of work, Candiano’s favorite activities are mostly centered around fitness. He enjoys working out, weight lifting, hiking, running, and biking. Being outdoors is also a must-have for Candiano. 

“We do a lot outdoors. We try to take numerous vacations a year just to get out there and live,” Candiano said. “We also do a lot of game nights – my wife, my daughter, and I.”

The biggest piece of advice Candiano has for the community, especially young adults, is to try to take whatever happens in life and learn how to move on. 

“Don’t let the little things bother you. Some things are out of your control,” Candiano said. “It’s a lot less stressful if you can bounce back and move on. Try not to sweat the small stuff; Just take what comes and keep moving forward.”