Editor's note: This is the first in a series of articles looking at the day-to-day lives of local people in various professions.
HOUGHTON - There's no such thing as a normal shift in law enforcement, said Jeremy Hill, patrolman with the Houghton Police Department. That's why he loves the profession.
"It's not your normal 9 to 5," he said. "You don't know what you're going to get. It's like a rollercoaster - it has its ups and downs. You could be helping a grandma that has fallen down, and then you could be responding to a domestic violence assault in progress."
Daily Mining Gazette/Garrett Neese
Houghton Police Department Patrolman Jeremy Hill stands next to a Houghton police car.
Hill grew up with the idea of law enforcement as a career, having had a grandfather and two uncles in law enforcement.
Hill has been with the Houghton Police Department for five years, since graduating from police academy. That 16-week course had lessons on discipline, responding to calls, the law and driving.
First a part-time officer with Houghton, he also worked part-time for other departments including the Houghton County Sheriff's Office and the Laurium Police Department.
"When they needed a body, they'd call you," he said. "You'd fill for people who were sick or on vacation."
If there are no emergencies or breaking crimes, Hill will spend his shift doing things such as traffic control, radar, business checks or property inspections for people who are away and have asked the police to check on their home.
Radar varies from day to day; some shifts go by without Hill writing a single ticket. Traffic control results not only in most of the operating while intoxicated arrests, but most of the narcotics arrests, Hill said.
People's responses are as varied as the rest of the job.
"Some people are very cooperative, polite, respect you," Hill said. "Other people are irate, yelling and screaming at you. There's a whole different mix of people you deal with. And that goes into every complaint you deal with."
Many people don't recognize what the police does in the community, Hill said. The department puts on classes, organizes activities such as Family Fun Day and will also respond "at the drop of a hat" whenever someone needs assistance.
"If there's shots fired at a residence, we're running towards it, and everybody else is running away," he said. "We're there for people. Anything from vehicle lockouts to jumping their battery, to helping them across the street, to protecting them when they're in harm's way."
The officers regularly go through training to keep up to date on the job. But Hill said he's also become a better officer just by showing up, getting experience and being motivated.
"Just coming to work and liking what you do every day, getting up and coming to a job you love will make you get out there and be proactive," he said.
There's many memorable moments, Hill said, such as putting people behind bars for 10 years. But he couldn't single out a part of it he enjoys the most.
"There are days when you're stressed out, working on a case ... but I enjoy what I'm doing, whether I'm doing the bad part of it, or the good part of it," he said. "Every aspect I enjoy."
It's a job in which he plans to stay.
"It's a good way to serve your community, be active with people you live with," he said. "I plan on being in the profession until I retire."