Moscow police officers are devoted to making the community a safe environment, no matter what each day in the line of duty might bring.
Corporal Lindsay McIntosh regularly visits the University of Idaho Campus Division police office and Lt. David Lehmitz — the officer stationed on campus.
“I decided to stop in (today). I was just walking around. I went to get a coke and say, ‘Hi’ to Dave and the rest of the crew up here, and now here I am,” she said.
McIntosh said as a police officer no two days are ever the same, which keeps the job exciting.
“My life is way cooler than Dave’s,” McIntosh said. “There is not really an average day as a police officer. That is kind of one of the more entertaining parts about being a police officer is you never know what you are going to get when you come to work in the morning. I can spend a day chasing stray animals. I can take a bunch of theft reports. I can deal with a bunch of domestic calls, a robbery or burglary.”
She said police officers are always on the go and need to be prepared for a variety of emergencies and situations.
“There is no plan when I come in to work,” McIntosh said. “If I have a plan it is generally out the window within about five minutes.”
McIntosh has been a police officer for seven years. She began her career at Northeast Police Academy in Augusta, Ga., in 2005.
“I worked down there for four years and then I moved up here to work. It was a big transition. The crime is pretty different. The people are pretty different. It was an interesting transition, but I like it here,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh said her favorite part of the job is being present and helping out in the community, as well as interacting with different people. She said the hardest part is dealing with people in the worst moments of their life.
“Helping people work through those crises is difficult and it can be draining at times, but that is also part of why I do this job,” she said.
McIntosh used to work in the UI campus police office, but returned to street patrol in May 2012. She said she enjoyed her time on campus and interacting with students.
“It was busy, but it was really good. I enjoyed being in the campus environment — working with the students, doing more of the educational piece. A lot of what we do in this position is teaching. It was pretty fun,” McIntosh said.
Back on the streets, McIntosh sometimes has to deal with unusual situations. McIntosh said on one call, a citizen sprayed her with Lysol. She said the person was convinced people were trying to get into her apartment.
“She opened the window and sprayed myself and another officer in the air where we were standing,” McIntosh said. “She said we needed to be clean before we could enter her apartment. That was pretty strange.”
McIntosh said despite what Hollywood films might portray, being a police officer is actually much different than most people realize.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a movie that accurately depicts what we do at all. I usually don’t watch those kinds of movies because it is kind of irritating sometimes. It skews things either way,” she said. “Unless it’s a comedy because I can always appreciate a good comedy, but some of the more action related stuff is just not realistic.”
McIntosh said the easiest way to get to know an officer or find out what they do is to simply walk up to them and start a conversation.
“You may be surprised what they have to say,” she said.
Emily Vaartstra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org