By Liv Larsen
LANSING TOWNSHIP — Lansing Charter Township Police Officer Aaron Lightner has been with the Lansing Township Police Department since 2006 — that is, if you ignore the one month he worked at the MSU Police Department in 2011 before promptly opting to move back.
Lightner enjoys the intensity that comes with the auto accidents which happen frequently along the highway in Lansing Township.
“I like the type of work we do here,” Lightner said. “We average 90 crashes a month…I like the fact that we’re busy.”
Unlike some departments where the officers pass along cases to the detectives, at LTPD the officers see their cases from start to finish.
“They do their own follow ups,” Lansing Township Chief Kay Hoffman said. “It gives a certain amount of pride.”
MSU Police Detective Chad Davis, a former co-worker of Lightner’s, knows the type of person it takes to enjoy the fast paced style at LTPD.
“You have to be incredibly independent,” said Davis. “You handle every type of call.”
Not only does Lightner enjoy the fast pace that comes with being an officer at the LTPD, but he also makes it a point to nail the essence of a role model, particularly to young children.
“I’ll see some kids playing basketball on the side of the street and I’ll get out [of my car] and I’ll play basketball with them,” said Lightner.
Another time while patrolling, Lightner drove past the local St. Vincent Home, a program providing a safe school atmosphere for children with disrupted lives, and saw an opportunity to interact with the children and staff of that facility.
“I got to play football with the kids at the St. Vincent Home,” said Lightner while remembering a particular day of patrolling. “I got out and asked if I could play — as long as I could be quarterback… I played for like a half hour with them.”
Not only does Lightner aim to help the lives of kids, and get to know the people of the community, he also aims to change what he called the overall negative stereotype that looms around police officers; even more so now in the wake of the riots in Ferguson, Mo., that erupted after a local officer shot and killed an unarmed teenager.
“My goal in law enforcement is to change people’s opinion about officers,” Lightner said. “I want people to know there are still officers out there that are good people, that can treat you fairly and respectfully. I want them to remember how I treated them. There is a negative stereotype, and we need to change that.”