Officer Ben Heinrich of Caldwell Police says his police department makes deliberate effort to both protect and serve the public, and Six on Your Side's ride-along with him shows it. "Our police chief and everyone down the line is really big on serving the community," he says. And that applies even in dangerous circumstances.
Last Friday night as ice coated much of the Treasure Valley, carefully piloting his police car between calls, he reflected on his parents, whom he assessed as having given him a good upbringing. "It's just an innate nature that I think a lot of police officers have, and have been raised that way. They're always looking to do the right thing."
On a different night that week, Officer Heinrich and other officers loaded the police cars with snow shovels as the calls were slow, and they were ready and able to continue serving the public. They set out to find people shoveling their driveways and to help them.
On this icy night they decided to reassemble to visit one of their neighbors whose wife had recently died. His weapon of choice on this evening: some ice melt.
Seveal officers assembled outside and officer Heinrich knocked on the door. A man answered.
"We're back because there was a nasty ice storm and you've got enough on your plate. We're going to throw some salt down on your driveway."
"You guys are incredible," said the man.
A Caldwell resident had requested that the police drive by his house, as he was away, to look for any signs of trouble. Officer Heinrich scoured the iced-up grounds with his flashlight and turned up no signs of break-in.
Another call revealed a hit-and-run on a mailbox.
The night turned darker when a call came in to pick up a wanted man who had threatened to leave the state despite an outstanding warrant. The man then changed his mind, and requested police meet him at the Flying J truck stop in Caldwell to pick him up.
"This warrant definitely needed to be served due to the severity of the crime."
Upon approach to the truck stop it is apparent a woman and child are in the car as well.
The man slowly walks backwards, arms in the air, into police custody. But Officer Heinrich sees a small child in the truck in addition to a woman who is driving.
"Are you gonna stick my Dad in the jail?" a small voice asks.
"No, we're just taking him somewhere else. We have to talk to him. It's ok. Do you like stickers," he says, lightening up the mood. "My name's Ben? What's yours? I have a cool sticker. It's a badge you can put on your chest. Just like I wear. OK? Bye, bud. Good night," he says.
And perhaps with that, another vulnerable person has been caught from slipping... somewhere down the road.