His grandfather, Larry Peterson, was an officer. His uncle, Aaron Lindsey, was a firefighter and an officer. Now, Nick Lindsey’s goal is to follow the footsteps of those two individuals in his life and become an officer as well.
“When I was younger I remember my uncle wearing his belt and stuff,” said Nick, also recalling his grandfather, before he retired.
Nick took advantage of the internship program offered at Wawasee High School to get a taste of the profession he has wanted to do since he was a young boy.
While the program is offered to seniors, Nick began the footwork his junior year and in his final trimester at Wawasee he received a glimpse into what an officer really does.
Nick has been an intern with the Syracuse Police Department and will soon end his experience with hopes of landing a job at the Elkhart County Detention Center as a jailer, “If I pass the tests,” he said.
He didn’t want to be just a police officer, but “ever since I was five years old, I wanted to be a small town police officer. You get to know a lot more people and the whole town,” he said. He realizes there are some disadvantages of being on a small town’s department, such as staying after your shift ends to complete paperwork. “I like small towns. It’s where I grew up.”
According to his grandmother, Deb Peterson, a former dispatcher for Syracuse Police and Fire departments, “Nick has never wavered in his choice of careers.”
Nick has watched television shows such as Cops as he grew up. “Something interested me,” he commented, adding as an officer “… you can’t expect to know what you’ll do in the next five minutes.”
He has been working with the various officers within the Syracuse Police Department for two hours each day. However, he wanted more time to learn, so gave up his lunch and homeroom time to get “an extra hour; to get as much as I could.”
Nick has ridden with the department’s newest officers, Mike Bumbaugh, Neal Likens and Joe Leach, as well as seasoned officers Jim Layne and Joe Salazar. While he went with officers on such calls as thefts, batteries, public intoxications, lockouts, vehicle registration checks, accidents, stray animals and other incidents, he’s also had opportunities to talk to the officers about their training and the academies.
His eyes were opened to the vast majority of activities of a local department. “There are a variety of things going on day to day … so much going on in little cities, stuff you’d get in Chicago or something. I’m learning so much in a short period of time, just a few hours a day. There’s so many calls and you do so many different things. It’s surprising.” Nick was allowed to “do everything they do, unless they feel it’s not safe.” He’s even went with the officer to take individuals to jail and observe that process.
“My plan is to go to (work at) Elkhart County Jail and while there maybe next spring study criminal justice at Ivy Tech and then at IPFW,” he stated, noting his goal is to work at Kosciusko County as a jailer or road officer.
“I want to start out in the jail. People I’ve talked to said you get more of a background and become familiar with the job going through the jail.”
Lindsey is an outdoors man, “I like being outdoors,” he said, another reason why he wants to be a road officer, “on the road your outside interacting with people,” he stated. He’s also a hunter and enjoys “anything outdoors.” He’s also taking an auto mechanic’s class at the high school obtaining the background necessary for a “second job down the road. Everybody needs a vehicle if flying or not,” he smiled.
He is the son of Amy Hill and Curt Lindsey and the oldest of three, with a brother who is a sophomore at Wawasee and a 6-month-old sister.
“Nick’s internship has solidified his choice of becoming a police officer,” said Peterson.
Mentoring Lindsey has been a group effort at the Syracuse Police Department, stated Kathy Deck, department secretary and matron. “We’re one big happy family and taking Nick under our wing. He fit in perfectly and we enjoyed it.”
The mentoring/internship was a volunteer position. After a day at school and three hours with the officers, Nick works evenings stocking and unloading merchandise at an area chain store.