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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — This holiday season, remember that not everyone is with their families.

In fact, several public safety members will be out and about making sure you’re safe during the holidays.

“Our primary focus for the West Lafayette Police Department is the safety and security of whoever is in town for these types of holidays,” West Lafayette Officer Bill Dearing said.

He volunteered to work on New Year’s Eve this year. So in addition to working his normal 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift, he’ll add another five to six hours to patrol the roads.

“I’m a little bit older now, so I’ve had plenty of time to do my own New Year’s Eve stuff,” he said. “I’ll have plenty more to celebrate in the future.”

He’s been with the department for 18 years, and it’s not his first time working during the holidays.

“I was available for New Year’s Eve. … And I’m happy to do that,” Dearing said.

Working holidays, though, means you aren’t always at home with your family every year.

“When you do this job, your family grows to understand that there’s a higher purpose, and the safety and security of our community is number one,” Dearing said. “My family made arrangements for us to do things while I was off duty.”

West Lafayette Police Officer Mark Ridge said sometimes it’s not the best to not be with your family on the holiday but he’s used to it.

“My kids are gone and married so they’re used to it,” he said.

It’s not a shift he craves, but his family changes the days it celebrates the holidays if he’s working, so it works out.

He worked Christmas this year. Ridge said he doesn’t ask to take Christmas off because some of the other officers have younger kids to spend Christmas with.

Dearing, in addition to working News Year’s Eve, worked Thanksgiving, which was pretty calm.

He didn’t always want to be a police officer. Dearing attended Ball State University and originally majored in business.

“I have a very short attention span, and this profession has always run in my family,” he said. “I thought I should probably try that out — and I never looked back.”

When the clock strikes midnight this year, Dearing said it’s rare to offer best wishes over the radio.

That’s when calls start coming in. They respond to every call about noise, fireworks, you name it.

They respond to it all.


Source: (Lafayette) Journal and Courier


Information from: Journal and Courier,