Editor’s note: This article was first published in The Herald on Aug. 28, 2006
Chris Doty entered this world about two minutes before his twin, Mike.
In the 26 years since, Mike Doty has been following his brother.
In May, that path led him to the York County Sheriff’s Office, where Chris has worked as a deputy since December 2004.
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“I tell them I’m the original one,” Chris said. But he’s quick to point out that his brother is not living in his shadow.
“I always did things first,” he said, “But he was always a little better at them.”
The Doty twins work different shifts. Although they have similar physical features, most of their colleagues can tell them apart. Mike’s a little taller, and Chris a little thinner. And if there were any confusion, supervisors have a simple remedy.
“You can’t go wrong if you say ‘Doty’ to either one of them,” joked Capt. Allen Brandon, who heads the patrol division.
Although the distinctions are easy now, they haven’t always been.
“In the beginning, there were still a lot of people that thought I was him,” Mike said.
Chris’ supervisor, Lt. Pat Kiefer, said that before Mike came to the Sheriff’s Office, he was an officer with the York Police Department. One day, Kiefer saw Chris in Fort Mill, then had dZja vu when he later bumped into Mike, who was working for York.
“I was like, ‘Wait a minute. Didn’t I just leave you in Fort Mill?’” Kiefer said.
When Mike later came to the Sheriff’s Office and trained on his twin’s shift, Kiefer already had a deputy with the last name Doody along with Chris. Thus the lieutenant supervised deputies Doty, Doty and Doody.
Dispatchers, fortunately, didn’t have to worry about the distinction.
“Thank God, they call them by numbers,” Kiefer said. “If they had to call them by names, it would be a total catastrophe.”
Despite being twins, the brothers are quick to point out that they are different. Chris wants to train other officers some day. Mike has a goal of working in administration.
Chris is also more outgoing and likes the outdoors. Mike is quieter, more academic and enjoys traveling - in comfort.
“He’d rather go camping,” Mike said of his brother. “I’d rather be at a five-star hotel.”
The Dotys grew up in Charlotte. They were the youngest of six children and have always been close, living together their entire lives with the exception of a few years in college.
“Brothers and sisters are close,” Mike said. “But generally, twins are closer.”
Being police officers wasn’t something they’d dreamed of doing since childhood.
While working security at Carowinds several years ago, they met York County Sheriff’s deputies and Charlotte police officers. The thrill of the job intrigued them. But there was something else. Each, at one time, had wanted to be a youth pastor. And while a police officer’s congregation is different, they’ve found the principle is not.
“It is the same thing,” Mike said. “Because you can still make a difference.”
Despite their short law enforcement careers, the twins have already encountered some tough situations. Just two weeks out of the police academy, Chris was involved in a fatal shootout with a bank robbery suspect who was threatening police officers. And just a few weeks ago, Mike dislocated his shoulder during a chase.
Through everything, though, they’ve been there for each other.
“When he got hurt, I was at the hospital before he was,” Chris said. “Waiting on him.”
Just like he has for 26 years.