Tony Mackian: The State Police’s one-man ticket-writing machine

State Trooper Tony Mackian's unmarked Chevy Impala
State Trooper Tony Mackian’s unmarked Chevy Impala

If you see this navy blue Chevrolet Impala in your rear view mirror, slow down! Odds are, it’s too late.

This is the new unmarked police cruiser for Virginia State Trooper Tony Mackian, a local officer of Serbian ancestry derisively called “the mad Russian” by some who have fallen victim to his ticket book. Calling a Serb a Russian is the ultimate insult. It’s even worse than calling a Floyd County baptist a Lutheran.

Mackian brags to fellow officers that he is writing 20-25 tickets a day since getting the new stealth patrol car, which features well-hidden blue lights, a normal looking license plate and low profile antennas for its radio and data system.

Not that the enthusiastic officer needs such tools to write tickets. Even with his previous fully-marked Ford Crown Victoria, the trooper wrote more traffic tickets than all other Floyd County officers combined — including state and Floyd County sheriff’s deputies. An upcoming session of General District Court in Floyd County features more than 100 cases generated by Mackian alone.

“Tony needs his own court day,” jokes one deputy.

Mackian, who served as an EMS with the Floyd County Rescue Squad before attending the State Police Academy and donning the blue and gray of the traffic force, shows little mercy on the road and offers few — if any — breaks to those who fall into his sights. Christiansburg attorney Fred Kellerman, nailed by Mackian for speeding after heading home from court one day, calls Mackian “the State Police’s foreign exchange student.”

While some in the law enforcement profession shake their heads at Mackian’s prolific ticket-writing, his actions bring smiles from his superiors at the State Police headquarters in Salem, where troopers are often reminded that a big part of their job is to produce revenue while patrolling the roads. That emphasis on revenue production through tickets led one popular area state trooper to put in his retirement papers, telling us that he always throught it was his job to help people and enforce the law, not make money for the Commonwealth.

Floyd County has long had its share of ticket-happy troopers, from the days when Roger Abshire packed the court with recepients of his summonses to Woody McClanahan, currently serving in Kuwait with the Coast Guard reserve, but veteran officers say Mackian is in a class by himself.

“Tony would write up his mother for doing three over,” jokes one. “He’s tough.”

As for Mackian, he’s not talking.  He lets his ticket book speak for him.

You have been warned. Let’s be careful out there.

(Updated on July 5, 2012 to correct Mackian’s role with the Floyd County Rescue Squad.)

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22 thoughts on “Tony Mackian: The State Police’s one-man ticket-writing machine”

  1. He is enforcing the law because for 1 that is his JOB! and 2nd there are a lot of idiot drivers that need to be taught a lesson!! I am grateful to know that Trooper MacKian is watching out for everyone I give you Trooper Mackian 2 BIG THUMBS UP for what you are doing Keep up the good work 😀 If I was to get stopped by him or anyone else for that matter SO WHAT I got stopped for a reason and that reason would be because I was breaking the law in some sort of manner… Please People Grow up and be thankful that you have a Trooper in this county that cares about your safety and the safety of others

  2. Sara, there is a big difference between doing one’s job and being a zealot. You may be too young to remember troopers like Tom Higgins, who was later sheriff of Floyd County. He believed in trying to help people and would give folks a break yet he was both a great trooper and a great sheriff. Discretion should be a part of an officer’s job but young Mr. Mackian lacks discretion or, from what I’ve been told, compassion. He is too busy using up his ticket book and getting attaboys from his bosses.

    • Carol Anderson, I do know Tom Higgins and yes he was a good Trooper and Sheriff but that was a different day and age we are in Today’s world where we have serious law breakers, and I believe that with the problem that Floyd county has with its drugs and what not is because other law enforcement officers were more concerned about being nice giving someone a break and people think ” Hey I know so n so they will let me go if I get busted” and 9 times out of 10 they do until officers from other jurisdictions get involved (for example the Drug Task Force).
      1 thing really got me on what you said in your reply to me and I quote ” From What I’ve Been Told” see this is another part of Floyd County the Gossip and hear say, I myself has had the opportunity to meet Trooper Mackian and get to know him ( as well as other Troopers and Deputies) and he is a very nice caring man. But let me ask you something if you had a job and you were told you have this quota of stock to meet this week or this month and you didn’t meet that quota your boss would ask you well what was the problem. would he not? and then it was a repeat every month there after and if you kept slacking you would get wrote up and possibly sent out the door. right? Well for Anybody regardless of a State Trooper or a production line worker you have to do your job and that is exactly what Trooper Tony Mackian is doing he is doing his JOB. People needed someone to pick on so they picked Tony Mackian because he is as from the article above ” The Foreign Exchange Student” & so called not caring or show compassion to his customers well for a little bit of info when you attend the State Police Academy they knock you down and build you up just to knock you back down again because they want to teach you not to let your guard down because if you are to let your guard down for 1 second you could be killed because you thought oh they look like a nice person and in reality they are not and BANG!! your dead. But all in all we all have a family to feed as does Trooper Mackian

      • I’m sorry Sara but I can’t equate an over-zealous ticket-writing trooper with the county-wide epidemic on drugs, particularly crystal meth. Yes, a law-enforcement officer faces death every day and I too know a number of the county’s excellent law-enforcement personnel but I also know that many of them shake their heads at the way Trooper Mackian approaches his job. It is one thing to enforce the law but it is another to go out of one’s way to write tickets without discretion or compassion. I was a passenger in a car pulled over by him and his manner was rude and not professional. Floyd County has many excellent deputies and troopers. At this point, I am not inclined to include Trooper Mackian in that group. Perhaps he will grow into the job. I hope so but he still has much to learn about dealing with the public. As for “from what I’ve been told,” my information came from people who have had direct contact with Trooper Mackian, not from Floyd County’s gossip mill. There are a lot of people out there with detailed stories about rude behavior, dangerous driving and abuse of power from this young man.

    • Carol, It is apparent you don’t know the real Tony.. Speaking as the wife of a former Floyd Deputy, I can assure you Tony possesses great compassion for others., How would you react if you were called to a motor vehicle accident involving multiple fatalities, including children? This was one such event Tony encountered, not only did he handle this event with professionalism, he displayed extreme compassion. Yes, he may be writing tickets, and yes, that is his job. It is his responsibility to “patrol” the roads to keep other motorists safe. I for one, experience on a daily basis, speeders, folks passing on double yellow lines and tailgating. Are you one of these persons? Is that the real issue of yours here? I for one am very proud to have Tony, and all of Floyd’s Law Enforcement patrolling our Floyd County roads. I don’t think ANYONE is exempt from breaking the rules of the road.

      I also experienced Tony”s compassion when he was working as an EMS provider, long before he became a State Trooper I had broke my arm in several places, it was a severe injury. Again, Tony acted with compassion and professionalism.

      Before you or anyone questions the performance of a State Trooper or Deputy you need to spend time in their shoes and witness some of the horrific events.

      Sincerely,
      Deborah Reeves

      • Deborah, your husband, Deputy Chris Reeves, is a good police officer and a good man. He is an asset to Sheriff Zeman’s force and to the county. I wish I could say the same for Trooper Mackian but at this point I cannot. That is my opinion and I am afraid we will have to disagree. I feel his over-exhuberence and determination to be a revenue producer rather than a productive peace officer overshadows his discretion and compassion, if indeed he has either at this point in his still-young career. I have been fortunate enough to encounter many good and dedicated state troopers in our county, from Tom Higgins in my younger days to Troopers Keith Gregory and the recently-retired Trooper Andrew O’Connor in current times. I am sorry but we must disagree when it comes to Trooper Mackian. As I have said before, he may have the makings of a good officer but I and others, including police officers, feel his extremes overshadow his abilities. I hope he matures. Floyd County has a long, distinguished history of excellent, dedicated police officers. Tony may one day join that elite group. I just do not believe, at this point, that he is there. I have nothing against him personally. I just happen to believe that it takes more than just writing tickets to be a good state trooper.

        By the way, I hear through the grapevine that some of the deputies have a pool going as to how long it will be before Tony nails Doug on his Harley. I hope Chris has a piece of that action? 🙂

  3. First of all Doug all people need to get there facts straight before publishing a article about Tony Mackian he was Never a Floyd County volunteer Rescue member he worked with Floyd County EMS. In this article about the attorney for speeding I am not sure what your point about that is he is just like ever body else, why should a attorney not be wrote for speeding when he/ they are caught? And I did not realize that it was the state troopers place to go around and show mercy for people in violation of the law. and now that Floyd County has state troopers that actually earn there pay (compared to the ones in the past) its a big deal now but on the other hand people always complain about aggressive drivers. Also for the troopers mentioned in the article that is in the past and this is the present.

  4. Did I miss something when I read this article? Did I miss a condemnation by the author for a state trooper doing his job? What I read was an article that pointed out that Tony writes more tickets than anyone else. That is a fact. What I read was an article stating that his numbers have gone up since the state police gave him an unmarked car. That is also a fact. What I read was an article that pointed out the state police is now focused on revenue generation through traffic tickets. Is that a surprise to anyone? It certainly is not to me. So why the anger directed at Doug? He wrote about a trooper who likes to write tickets. He did it, in my opinion, with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Why are Sara and Marvin so mad? What’s the big deal?

  5. I have seen this officer exhibit reckless behavior in his pursuit of writing a ticket….I’ve actually had to slam on my brakes because he has performed a 180 turn and pulled recklessly in front of me twice now because he was after someone in front of me possibly exceeding the speed limit by 3 mph. I’ve heard others talk about the same behavior. This conduct is NOT PROFESSIONAL and it’s reckless behavior that is not in the best public interest. In Floyd county there is no need for such antics….These are citizens (and none of us is perfect) who are not intentionally breaking any law (driving down a hill can easily cause anyone to go about 3 miles over sometimes)…yet law abiding citizens are being treated like they had just robbed a bank!

  6. I don’t have any problem with an officer, especially a state trooper (whose job IS traffic enforcement, writing every ticket in his book every day he works. You people are basically complaining about getting caught instead of taking responsibility for your actions like an honest citizen would. I personally have never been pulled over by Mr. Mackian because I obey the traffic laws, as should you. If I ever am, I will take responsibility for my actions and recognize that he is simply doing his job. As for your racial slurs and insults, Mr. Thompson, why don’t you retire your crayon and let an actual journalist perform the function of informing the public? You should be writing something relevant rather than the equivalent of complaining that a doctor saves too many lives.

    • Racial slurs and insults? What racial slurs? The article that I read simply said Trooper Mackian is Serbian and that some who insult him do so by calling him Russian. What insults? Mr. Thompson simply relates that Trooper Mackian writes a lot of traffic tickets. Tell me something, law abiding citizen, if you are so law abiding why do you hide your name? Are you hiding something? How do we know that you are not Trooper Mackian posting in his own defense and hiding behind the name “law abiding citizen?” How do we know if you are even old enough to drive? The same for Sara. Why don’t you use your full name? Are you afraid to stand up for what you claim you believe in? I find it interesting that while there are those on both sides of this issue who post anonymously, not one person who offers defense of the Trooper’s actions is willing to do so under their full name.

  7. It doesn’t take too much digging to know who the anonymous boosters of young Tony are. My acquaintances in the FCRS tell me Sara is married to an EMS. Marvin is a medic. They’re rallying around one of their own. I see nothing wrong with that. I do have a problem with those who do so anonymously and toss out insults. At least Doug has the intestinal fortitude to put his name on his opinions. I don’t always agree with what he says but I respect his willingness to do so.

  8. Just for fun I decided to do a little research on what Doug Thompson has written in the past about traffic laws and safety. Here’s what I found:

    Playing Russian Roulette on the road (September 13, 2010)

    http://www.blueridgemuse.com/node/7331

    On any given day on the road I see cars illegally passing on the right of a car that is turning left, passing on double solid lines, running stop signs and breaking other traffic laws. The roads, sadly, are filled with inattentive drivers talking or texting on cell phones. Others are simply bad drivers.

    All are dangerous. All are playing Russian Roulette not only with their lives but with the destiny of those unfortunate enough to be on the road at the same.

    In Floyd County, bad driving is a way of life (May 6, 2009)

    http://www.blueridgemuse.com/node/1977

    On any given day on any road in Floyd County, I can count multiple drivers who pass on the right, drive well over the speed limit, fail to signal turns, cross over the yellow line when traffic is approaching or turn in front of oncoming traffic.

    A vehicle — when operated by a bad driver — is a far more dangerous weapon than a gun. It kills more people every year than guns and wars combined.

    There are several other examples. When Doug wrote in 2009 about Floyd County school bus drivers who run stop signs and speed, did any of the critics here applaud his position then? I doubt it. They probably have friends who drive school buses.

    When I first read the article about Tony I laughed because what I read was a writer having a little fun with a trooper who writes a lot of traffic tickets. I didn’t read any malice in the article nor did I see any insults or racial slurs…just a little good-hearted fun.

    Too bad others here don’t have a sense of humor or the ability to go back and see just how often Doug has taken a stand for stronger traffic enforcement and safety.

    I suggest his critics do a little research before sounding off. They might learn something and avoid making fools of themselves.

  9. Entertaining reading on this apparent hot button issue for folks in the hills and hollers of Floyd County.

    I haven’t had the pleasure or misfortune of encountering Trooper Anthony G. Mackian or his stealth Impala on the road yet. Like some others here have stated, I obey traffic laws and if stopped believe it will be because I did something that deserves the attention of either the state police or the county sheriff’s department.

    But I have difficulty understanding the vitriol that I see directed at either Tony or Doug over a humorous post about a trooper that generates a lot of tickets and apparently an equal amount of either support or anger through his actions.

    From where I sit, Tony and Doug are a lot alike. Both are passionate men who go about their tasks in life with enthusiasm and vigor. Both generate controversy with a pen. Tony uses his to write tickets. Doug uses his to generate public discussion. There has been talk here about rudeness but the only rudeness I see comes from those on both sides of this public argument.

    From my perspective, the problem in this debate comes not from Tony Mackian or Doug Thompson but stems from those who needed an excuse to express their own strong emotions about either man. I don’t know either personally but I am willing to bet both are sitting back and having a good laugh at all overwraught commentary displayed here.

  10. Kyle, I’d like to be laughing about the anger displayed in the comments section regarding the article but I’m saddened to see so many insults hurled at what I guess was a poor attempt at humor about Tony and his record-setting pace writing tickets.

    I wrote the piece for two reasons. First, the breakfast tables at the Blue Ridge buzzed each morning about Tony and his new unmarked car and, second, I found it disturbing that so many people call him the “mad Russian.” I felt it was important to point out that Tony’s background was Serbian and it is an insult to call a Serb Russian. I tried to do so in a lighthearted vein. Apparently, that attempt was overlooked by some who felt I was in fact insulting his heritage. That was never my intent. I’m married to an Irish-Lebanese woman and, believe me, I know better than to insult anyone’s heritage, especially hers.

    I find it odd that some here feel that by writing the article I am suggesting that any police officer go easy on traffic offenders. Anyone who knows the history of my writings on this web site or in other venues know I feel traffic law violations are serious business and I have encouraged tough, not lax, enforcement of those laws. I do have a problem when a police official encourages revenue production over law enforcement, as Tony’s bosses are doing, but that is an argument for another day.

    Tony’s reaction to the article was “if I had known he was going to run a picture of my car I would have washed it.” That tells me Tony took the article in the spirit in which it was written. I’m sorry others did not but I cannot control how they interpret what I write.

    As for the pool, if one actually exists, on how long it will take Tony to “nail” me on the road, I can only say that if I’m breaking the laws of the highway then any trooper or deputy should pull me over and write out a ticket. I know Tony well enough to know he will pop the switch on his blue lights only I deserve it and not out of malice or a vendetta. I have plus five points on my driving record and I intend to keep it that way.

    Finally, anyone is free to express their opinion on what I write or say just as I am free to express my thoughts through my writing, photography or videos. I do, however, feel strongly that those who choose to hide behind anonymous “handles” while tossing out insults display a certain degree of cowardice.

    So I have a message for “law abiding citizen.” I eat a late breakfast nearly every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Blue Ridge Restaurant in Floyd. I’m easy to find. Just look for a man with white hair and a white beard wearing motorcycle gear at a table with others who ride. Why don’t you drop by and tell me to “retire my crayon” to my face.

    It you have guts enough to express an opinion without hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet . 🙂

  11. First off, I need to admit that when I first read the article and comments, I read comments first (as it was pointed out to me by a friend) and then the article, which skewed my impression of the tone of the article.

    After reading your comments, Doug and going back to re-read the article, I can see it in the manner intended and must admit where I am wrong. That being said, however, I will gladly bring you a new crayon at some point next week or so to allow you to honor my request of retiring the one currently in use! 😉

    As for the label of ‘law abiding citizen’, it was chosen as a dig rather than to hide, I assure you. Since I have gotten my share oftickets over the years, it should read ‘responsible for my own mistakes’ instead.

    I have a very strong view of law officers and while I will readily admit there are some out there that are a poor example, they are, by far, the exception and Tony is not one of the bad ones. I do know Tony personally, and can say that his motivation is without hunger for power.

    I am thoroughly tired of the rampant opinion of entitlement and lack of responsibility prevalent in our society and have experienced enough of it years ago from Tony’s perspective as well as others and, in your case, Doug, have over-reacted and for that I admit I reacted to your article in haste.

    So, Doug, I will get into Blue Ridge with a crayon for you…perhaps cyan to match the egg on my face. 🙂

    • Darin:

      Thank you for your comments. Hell, I’ve made enough mistakes in my life to qualify for Guinness. Please do drop by the Blue Ridge. I’ll buy the coffee and accept the crayon. 😉

  12. Tony is our modern day Trooper Roger Abshire. If many of you think back to when he was a Trooper in this town many said the same things about him. Tony is a GREAT addition to our law enforcement here. If you are breaking the law and Tony is around, you can bet your bottom dollar someone is either getting a ticket or going to jail. Keep up the great work Tony!!!

  13. Can one not understand why citizens will post under a pseudonym when discussing a law enforcement officer. Why would one invite trouble when one hasn’t had trouble on the roads from law enforcement before? It is not unheard of to have repercussions when exposing unprofessional antics by a police officer. Many of us have seen the officer recklessly doing 180 degree turns in front of oncoming traffic in order to go after someone who is going 3-4 miles over (on a downhill) like one was pursuing a violent criminal. Pursue them safely and in a more professional manner please!

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