If the Highland Police Department sees an increase in future traffic stops or house calls, a local officer might be to blame.
On July 27, Officer Rob Horner was voted the hottest of hot cops in the the radio show contest STL’s Hottest Cop Contest, which was hosted by Bud and Broadway show on New Country 92.3.
“It was a very nice surprise to hear them announce that on the radio Friday morning,” Horner said.
Horner beat out competition from all over the St. Louis and metro-east area with 1,430 votes. But, his closest competitor, Micah Sensel of Centralia, Illinois, came in at a hairsplitting second place with 1,429 votes. For his recognition as the reining “Hot Cop” Horner received a trophy to symbolize his new title, and tickets to the 2018 Jingle Fest concert.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
“I was amazed that, with thousands of people voting, it actually came down to one single vote. I guess the old adage of every vote counts is very true,” Horner said.
But, what his competitors did not know was that Horner had the upper hand, as he has been known as “Hot Cop” for 18 years. He claimed that title when he first started on at the department at the same time as Sgt. Scott Athmer.
“People would come up and ask us back then if “Hot Cop” was working and we always knew they were referring to Rob,” Athmer said.
It was Horner’s wife, Jennifer, who thought he should claim the title for real. She nominated him into the competition with a Facebook post that said:
“Not only is he ‘The Hot Cop,’ he was also voted ‘Cop of the Year’ by the people of Highland! He believes in treating everyone fairly and with compassion & kindness. He’s always willing to help anyone he can!”
The post also included a picture of a shirtless Horner, cowboy hat Horner, and two pictures in uniform, one of which he is saving a tiny squirrel.
“My first thought was that she was providing my friends with the perfect ammo to start teasing me,” Horner said.
The temperature of the competition rose quickly as more cops were nominated. But Horner’s nomination still stood out in the bunch. His post picked up over 1,000 likes, and hundreds of comments and shares. Little did he know, the reactions from the public would show that the contest wasn’t just about muscle and brawn.
“If you read a lot of the comments that people were posting, it wasn’t just about his looks, it was a lot about his personality — how he is as an officer. A very fair, good officer,” said Chris Flake, another Highland officer.
This played true with many of the other candidates as well.
“I would like to congratulate all of the other officers that were nominated for this competition. After reading many of the comments from their supporters it became quite evident that they are all very good representatives of their communities and law enforcement,” Horner said.
But, even the words support did not stop the other Highland officers from poking a little fun.
“It’s all in good fun and good humor. It has definitely not gone unnoticed inside the (police department), and it is probably safe to say that I don’t think he will be running for any of these sort of competitions in the future,” Athmer said.
Horner said his new award ranks up with all of his other accolades, which include being chosen as Highland’s favorite officer. He said he would like to personally thank the community and everyone who took the time to like, share, and vote on the contest page.
“All of the kind words and support were truly appreciated. I am extremely grateful and proud to work in a town that supports their police department,” Horner said.
Horner would also like to thank the Bud and Broadway staff for putting on such a contest. But most of all, he said he would like to thank his wife for being a true supporter of law enforcement, his number one fan, and for still seeing him as “Hot Cop” after 10 years of marriage.
“Only the future will tell how the Mrs. Hot Cop jokes make her feel,” Horner said.