Officer Ryan Ties knew he wanted to stick around Morris

Morris Police Officer Ryan Ties stands by his squad car outside the police station on Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

Officer Ryan Ties knew he wanted to be a police officer by the time he was a senior in high school, but it took until his senior year to make that decision. Up until then, he thought he’d become a teacher.

He still is a teacher – sort of. The difference now is that his main student will be a dog, because he’s currently in training to become the Morris Police Department’s next K-9 officer.

Ties said Morris currently has two dogs geared toward tracking narcotics, but his dog will be trained to bite since he’s working with the Grundy County ProActive Unit, a specialized unit comprising members of departments around Grundy County.

“I’m really looking forward to that,” Ties said. “With bite dogs, there’s another scenario built in where you have to be extra cautious, and it depends on the dog. For instance, people always look at pit bulls in a dangerous manner because that’s the bad rap they get, but some pit bulls are the sweetest dogs out there.”

Ties will keep the dog in his home, and he plans on building a kennel setup and outside area using his garage to allow the dog to have space when not working.

“You don’t take sides, and you do what you can to resolve the situation on a rough day.”

—  Officer Ryan Ties, Morris Police Department

Ties grew up in Morris, and when he got out of college at Illinois State University, he had the opportunity to be a bit picky with what department he worked at. He said he knew he wanted to stay near home, so he picked up work as a security guard at the Exelon – now Constellation – nuclear plant.

“I knew I wanted to be a cop somewhere,” Ties said. “My preference was around here, not necessarily Morris, but Morris would’ve been the ultimate goal just because I’m from here. I like the area, and I didn’t want to move away from home.”

He’s happy with his decision to stick around home, and he’s learned a lot about Morris in his time as an officer, especially things he didn’t think much about while growing up.

“Morris is a smaller town, but it’s not tiny by any stretch,” Ties said. “Growing up, I think I was oblivious to things like Interstate 80 and everything it brings, and then the different crimes that happen every day. I didn’t realize it was going on.”

Ties said some of the time, his job is letting people know they’ve made minor violations, such as giving warnings for expired license plates and other things that sneak up on people.

Other days, however, require him to go in and help with rough situations.

“When people call the police, a lot of the times they’re on their worst day,” Ties said. “Nobody calls the police just to say hi, so typically I go into a situation knowing it’s going to be rough, knowing I need a clear mind and [to] make sure I can see all sides of the story. You don’t take sides, and you do what you can to resolve the situation on a rough day. Maybe they’re having a bad day, or they’re scared of someone coming to their house. I hope we can give them peace and help out with whatever the situation is.”

When he’s not working, Ties does his best to stay active. He and his wife recently have gotten into running, although it was something he didn’t grow up doing. They decided last year to run the Mercy Home Marathon in Chicago, which benefits kids who come from troubled backgrounds. He’s gotten more into it from there, and he plans on running it again this October.

“I first got into running before I decided I was going to do a marathon,” Ties said. “I’ve always tried to lift weights and run, but I never necessarily had a goal in mind. It was just to stay in shape so I’m in better shape for work. I didn’t want to drag a situation down when someone needs my assistance, but I certainly wasn’t going out for a 15-mile run on the weekend or anything like that.”

He followed the same program the Chicago Marathon recommends to a tee, although he said he missed a few steps here and there. The regimen has dietary recommendations that he said he didn’t follow perfectly. Ties said he’ll eat well when he’s at work, but if it’s his off weekend, he’s going to eat what sounds good.

Ties is active with the Grundy County ProActive Unit, which is a multijurisdictional unit of officers from Grundy County, Channahon, Braidwood and other towns in Grundy County. Much of the information they receive comes from the Grundy County Crime Stoppers, and he asks anyone who sees anything shady or who has information to call 815-942-9667.

Michael Urbanec

Michael Urbanec

Michael Urbanec covers Grundy County and the City of Morris, Coal City, Minooka, and more for the Morris Herald-News