News Column

All in a day's work for Lodi Police Cpl. Misty Springmeyer

June 6, 2014

By James Striplin, Lodi News-Sentinel, Calif.



June 06--Lodi Police Cpl. Misty Springmeyer sat inside a police Ford Explorer with a shotgun racked just inches from her head. Her right hand waited eagerly on the keyboard of a laptop; her left gripped the steering wheel.

Springmeyer never saw herself as a police officer growing up, and she certainly didn't see herself as one of Lodi's six corporals.

Towards the end of her Galt High School senior year in 2000, Springmeyer was thinking of becoming a social worker.

But in 2001, law enforcement piqued her interest after she took a criminal justice class at Sacramento City College. It led her to San Joaquin Delta College, where she completed the police academy program.

Springmeyer then joined the Lodi Police Department, where she has worked for 11 years.

Lodi police cover anywhere between 16 to 20 calls in a typical shift, and around 10 during a graveyard shift, Springmeyer said.

Information collected during calls to Lodi police is processed by dispatchers and sent using Open Source Systems Incorporated (OSSI) software to every Lodi police vehicle in the field.

The dispatch software is so vital to Lodi law enforcement work because it helps make up for the department being understaffed, Springmeyer said.

"The city has grown, but the department hasn't," she said.

Springmeyer also said that she does less patrolling than she used to, and that taking calls takes up most of her time.

Still, she said, once in a while she cruises Lodi and deals with issues like gang members huddled on the street. Sometimes a passerby waves her over from the sidewalk.

That was not the case for her Wednesday shift, when she took call after call between noon and 4 p.m.

In a single day, she covered calls ranging from checking on a child to dealing with a restaurant not allowing a service dog inside.

Springmeyer also handled two "5150s," the code for a call involving a person showing signs of a mental health issue.

The subject of one such call on Wednesday had to be detained after her family claimed that she threatened them. Springmeyer drove the subject to San Joaquin County Mental Health, a drive that can take up to 30 or 40 minutes one way.

Springmeyer said there has been an uptick in these kinds of calls over the years, and that losing one officer, even for only 30 minutes to an hour, leaves a hole in the shift that can't easily be filled.

Even so, not all these calls end with officers taking a trip to Stockton. The person has to be a danger to themselves or others. As a result, even if an officer sees someone acting strangely, that does not mean they have cause to do anything about it other than ask them to leave.

"Just because someone is different doesn't give us the right to take their liberties away," Springmeyer said.

One of the hardest things Springmeyer has to deal with, she says, are fatal accidents involving children. She said every officer has had to respond to such an accident at least once in their career.

Springmeyer is married and is the mother of a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old.

She says her job takes away a lot of time from her family, and that holidays become just another day when you're on the force.

"It takes an understanding spouse," Springmeyer said. "It's very hard on your family."

Contact reporter James Striplin at jamess@lodinews.com.

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(c)2014 the Lodi News-Sentinel (Lodi, Calif.)

Visit the Lodi News-Sentinel (Lodi, Calif.) at www.lodinews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Lodi News-Sentinel (CA)


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