Community policing opportunities draw Ryan McIntyre to college team

In this issue’s Spotlight, meet Officer Ryan McIntyre, the newest member of the college’s University Police, who supports relationship-building initiatives in law enforcement.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I grew up in Camillus. I went to West Genesee High School, graduating in 2007.

Q. How did you become interested in police work?
A. I started in Police Explorers Post in high school, which was to learn the fundamentals of police work. I went to Onondaga Community College for a criminal justice associate’s degree, and while I was there did an internship with Syracuse Police. After college, I started doing security work at Destiny USA for a few years, Veterans Administration Hospital in Syracuse, the Syracuse City School District. I then went with the city of Oswego Police Department for a year. After that, I had the opportunity to come here. I started in April.

Q. How did you decide to work for University Police?
A. When I applied here, I was in talks with a few different agencies. But after meeting with the chief here (John Rossi), I knew immediately this is where I wanted to work. He’s big on community policing, and that is what I really want to do. A lot of the other departments don’t have the funds to continue that style of interaction (with the public they serve). They offer a lot of programs here that I found interesting—the ride-alongs, the DWI instruction that they do with the students. It’s very interactive. That’s what I wanted to do—to draw more people into wanting to do police work. A lot of people turn away because of public perceptions of police, and they forget that we are real people and that we do really care about the public.

Q. What is a next step for you in training for community policing?
A. Training more in field sobriety tests so you could train the public when you do sessions about DWI enforcement, to show them how it really works, to try to bring awareness to a subject they ought to be aware of. This department is really good on giving (professional development) training; they are gracious and supportive and they want you to take advantage of any opportunity that comes.

Q. What has surprised you about working for University Police here?
A. It surprised me how much everyone cares about the perception of the department. Everybody tries to make it (the college) a safe yet fun place to be. We don’t want to be seen as the bad guy and drive everyone away, but we want to make it safe at the same time. Everybody goes out there and gives it 110 percent.

Q. What are your work hours?
A. We have 12-hour shifts, either 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. It works out. A lot of people like the schedules; I like the schedules. It gives you more time off. They’re longer days, but in the end it kind of balances.

Q. Have you or anyone else been endangered here or in your previous jobs?
A. Back when I worked for the city (of Oswego), there was a person who wanted to commit suicide. She was sitting on the top of the Bridge Street Bridge. The call came out and I was in the area. I was first to respond and was riding with a trainer at that point. We ran out of the car. The person tried to jump, but I grabbed her wrist in time. As I was holding on to her dangling over the water, my trainer grabbed her other wrist and we dragged her back over and got her help at the hospital.

Q. Yet police work also involves routine and a good deal of paperwork, right?
A. Everybody who gets into this may not know the paperwork part, but they do know there’s routine times. There can be tough times where it takes a toll on your emotions, where you could see things that most people should never have to see. But there are a lot of benefits to doing this kind of work. By stopping (for example) an abusive situation or a robbery, you can make a difference in somebody’s life where it could have been a domino effect (of criminal behavior) if it wasn’t taken care of at that point.

Q. How does University Police work build camaraderie?
A. Working alongside somebody in this line of work, your co-worker could be your guardian angel, so that alone brings the camaraderie in police work to a different level. You have to trust this person with your life, and you would hope that they would trust you the same. A lot of times when you handle a call, other officers will respond to make sure you’re OK. It feels better knowing there’s somebody nearby if you need help, and everyone’s more than willing to do that. Any traffic stop could be a dangerous situation—it could be anybody.

Q. What kind of career goals do you have?
A. First I want to get my experience in regular patrol and get to learn other parts of the college. Once I get comfortable with an officer’s duties and with all the non-policing things I should know, I would hope one day to advance through the ranks here. People like the chief and the assistant chief (Kevin Velzy) have put in a lot of time in going to their next steps, and that’s why they’re so good at their jobs now.

Q. What do you like to do off the job?
A. I like to play golf—I play all over. I like to go to the movie theater here in Oswego as often as I can, maybe once or twice a month. I like to get out to my camp on Otisco Lake. We have boats and jet skis and every type of water toy. I try to get out there, but it’s hard with a busy schedule. I take all the overtime. (Laughs.) I’m always here.

Q. What can you tell us about your family?
A. I’ve been with my girlfriend for about four years. She’s a nurse at Upstate (Medical University). My parents and her parents both say, “It’s time!” It’s probably in the near future—I’m still in process of saving for a down payment for a house. I rent here on the east side. My dad’s a roofer; he has been doing it probably 30 years now. My Mom’s a nurse at St. Joseph’s (Hospital Health Center in Syracuse).