Michael Hopper is the communications officer of the UCA police department.
During school hours, he spends his time in his office providing students with information and communicating to the public regarding what is happening in his department.
Outside the office, Hopper describes himself as an old soul who listens to the radio, prunes his yard and hikes with his family.
Hopper said he enjoys listening to Radio Classics on Sirius XM radio. The channel broadcasts radio programs from the ‘30s to the ‘60s with radio shows like the detective series “Dragnet,” the western drama “Gunsmoke” and the comedy show “Jack Bennie.”
Hopper said listening to these radio shows engages his mind because he has to imagine the scenes from the lines alone. He said he listens to the radio in his car and on a phone app, but he also owns his own vacuum tube radios from the early ‘40s.
He said that as a kid he got most of his entertainment from the radio.
“The radio format seems to suit my personality better than the TV does,” Hopper said.
Hopper said he likes the radio because he is able to do other activities while listening to it, such as tending to the flower beds in his front yard.
Hopper has a few flower beds in front of his house that have perennials and annuals.
“Sometimes I’ll just sow a bunch of wildflower seeds out there and see what comes up,” Hopper said.
He said he sowed some seeds and ended up with just yellow flowers because excessive rains washed his seeds away this year.
Hopper said he wants to increase the breadth of his gardening and start a vegetable garden in his backyard with his wife and two sons.
He said the idea appealed to him because it reminded him of a Victory Garden — a type of garden planted during wartime to increase food production.
“It’s something to do outside to get the kids involved in,” Hopper said. “The concept of the Victory Garden is each family, or group of families, coming together to get through those shortfalls. I think, for me anyways, it’s sort of harkening back to those times.”
Hopper also enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two sons. He said he goes hiking at Petit Jean State Park with his family about once or twice a week, and often goes fishing.
“Being out, being together, it helps make us more of a tight-knit family,” Hopper said. “It’s about doing something as a family together, taking the couple of hours to go on a good hike.”
Growing up, Hopper was a Boy Scout and always enjoyed his time outdoors.
“Learning those, not just life skills, not just service to others, but learning the outdoor skills as well, that’s what I enjoyed about being in the Boy Scouts,” Hopper said. “It shaped a lot of who I am today.”
Photo by Emily Gist