By Mike Mathis
The Burlington County Times
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. — Ken Bachman knows first-hand the stresses and strains caused by a career in law enforcement.
Those outside the profession often don't understand the long, odd hours police officers work and the pressures of dealing with situations most people never encounter, he said.
That makes pursuing personal relationships difficult, and sustaining them even more problematic, said Bachman, an officer for the Burlington County Sheriff's Department.
Bachman is founder of http://www.thebadge.org/, an online dating service designed to match single emergency-service workers such as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
TheBadge.org enables members to post photographs and personal information, chat, and participate in dating surveys. The site offers paid and free memberships.
The site has about 1,000 members from across the country, Canada and overseas, Bachman said.
Bachman said he developed the idea for TheBadge.org by listening to co-workers discuss their failed relationships and marriages.
“I talked to a lot of guys who work crazy hours, and they said they had a hard time meeting girls,” said Bachman, 36, who lives in Atlantic County. “Here, they can meet a woman who understands the job.”
Bachman speaks from experience.
His first marriage ended in divorce after five years because his wife didn't understand the stress he experienced on the job, he said.
“She wasn't seeing me, and she didn't understand the job requirements, the long hours,” Bachman recalled.
Bachman said he decided to include other emergency-service officers in TheBadge.org because they face similar professional and personal challenges.
“You have firefighters who work 24-hour shifts,” Bachman said. “They can't go to a bar (to meet people).”
A police officer in Burlington County who agreed to offer his insights on his use of TheBadge.org on the condition that his name not be used said he has been on one date with a nurse he met through the site.
“The other sites I used were not geared to law enforcement,” said the officer, 29, who has never been married. “I like how it's specialized to us. We're a different breed of people.”
Interestingly, Bachman remarried, this time to a real estate agent he met through an online dating site, not TheBadge.org.
“She's a little more understanding,” he said.
Copyright 2007 The Burlington County Times
Online dating site caters to LE