Detective Dean Mucha Talks Pack the Cruiser, Fraud Prevention, & Receiving FPD Chief’s Award
Writer: Jon Shoulders
When Detective Dean Mucha of the Fishers Police Department needs inspiration to continue the work he does day in and day out, he simply looks around at the town he calls home.
“This is my community. I live here and these are my neighbors, and these are the businesses that I frequent,” Mucha says. “It’s an honor to serve the people here.”
Born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Mucha spent a brief stint in Baltimore before relocating to the Hoosier state to pursue a psychology degree at Anderson University. Initially intending to start a career in psychological research after graduating, he soon found himself drawn to law enforcement and took a job with the Fishers Police Department, spending his first 10 years in the Patrol Division where he served as a field training officer, Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) officer and evidence technician.
“Every young kid wants to grow up being the good guy, and I think that stuck with me when it was time to move into my career,” Mucha recalls.
After a decade with patrol, Mucha was chosen to join the department’s Investigations Division and has since specialized in fraud cases and become passionate about fraud prevention and detection. Last year, he organized and spoke at eight fraud seminars for businesses, churches and retirement homes as well as the general public.
Mucha says rapidly evolving technology presents perhaps his biggest challenge from a fraud specialist perspective – from email phishing scams to credit card fraud and identity theft. He recently tackled credit card skimming, whereby credit cards used at gas station pumps are harvested for personal information via devices known as skimmers that are inserted inside credit card machines right there at the gas pump.
“With the way technology evolves so quickly it’s hard to keep up with the criminal aspects of how criminals are perpetrating crimes,” he says. “Once we catch up to a new technology and are working with it, they’ve already gone on to the next one. It goes in waves – the credit card skimmers will be big for a while and then go away, and then it’ll come back around.”
Back in 2013 Mucha began a partnership with the City of Fishers Department of Public Works (DPW) for the Fleet Watch Program, through which drivers of Public Works vehicles receive training and are in direct communication with law enforcement. Registered Public Works vehicles are given a distinctive Fleet Watch logo so residents can report crime or suspicious activity to the police via the DPW, and last year the program was expanded to include building inspector vehicles.
Eager to help the Fishers community in a variety of capacities, last July Mucha organized Pack the Cruiser, a food drive event benefitting the Hamilton Southeastern Summer Lunch Program, which launched last year with help from the Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank. His objective for the event was to fill three police vehicles with donated food, and he struck up a partnership with Kroger to help promote and host the drive.
At the end of the four-hour event Mucha, along with a group of fellow officers and volunteers, found themselves with 11 vehicles filled with food donated from residents in and around Fishers, as well as gift cards and a $4,500 total donation from Kroger.
“In my hometown up in Green Bay they did a food drive like that in every jurisdiction up there, and I thought why not do something like that down here,” Mucha says. “Fortunately it went well the first time around.”
Fifteen years into his law enforcement career, Mucha says the city of Fishers and its residents continue to provide him with all the professional motivation he needs to do the best he can serving the city he’s passionate about. That passion led to a special distinction in February when Mucha received the 2017 Chief’s Award for outstanding service and community involvement.
“I was very humbled and honored to receive the Chief’s Award, and didn’t expect it,” he says. “What motivates me is to keep everyone safe and make Fishers a great place for their families to live and enjoy everything that the city gives them. I want this to be a safe place for everyone to come and visit, work, live and play.”