MPPD Officer Autume Balcom wants to connect police with community
Autume Balcom has saved lives, solved crimes and helped deliver a baby all while on the job as a police officer.
Balcom has been a certified police officer for 12 years but recently took on a new role as a public information officer for the Mount Pleasant Police Department in June. The two-year special assignment takes Balcom off the streets and into the office to usher media, coordinate community events and appear in courts.
"The position is a good challenge for me," Balcom said. "It gives me an opportunity to see different sides of law enforcement that I haven't been seeing."
From the time Balcom was in the sixth grade growing up in Mid-Michigan, she knew she wanted to be a police officer. She recalls local officers from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) speaking to her class and being fascinated with their work. Her parents owned a restaurant that police would frequently visit, causing Balcom to humanize the badge at an early age.
Balcom began volunteering as a reserve officer in Clare before she went to college. She pursued her bachelor's degree in sociology at Western Michigan University but graduated from Central Michigan University in 2006. All the while, Balcom was working midnights in patrol cars and juggling her classwork.
While fighting her way through the police academy, Balcom picked up many useful skills along the way. On one memorable dispatch call, she used her medical training to help deliver a baby for a couple on the side of the road.
From the time she arrived at CMU, Balcom wanted to work for MPPD.
"I think this community is amazing. There are all these different types of people, it's so diverse," Balcom said. "When you go to college here you start as a student but over time (Mount Pleasant) turns into your community."
Before she got her dream job, Balcom worked for Clare City Police Department for six months until she was hired at Isabella County Sheriff's Office and served for just under a year.
Balcom also worked for the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police Department for four years, one of five police agencies in Mount Pleasant.
After seven years of service at MPPD, Balcom is invigorated with the same love of public service she had when she was in the sixth grade.
"A lot of our calls touch you in some way, whether you're helping a kid or helping an elderly (person) who got scammed," Balcom said. "Your heart goes out to them and you try to help them as much as you can."
Balcom looks to the future of policing in Mount Pleasant to be more personal, supportive and human.
The MPPD hosted “Coffee with a Cop” on Oct. 16. at Robaire’s Bakery. Participants were able to engage the officers with questions relating to law enforcement, community policing and local law.
She said events like these will help connect citizens with law enforcement.
"I think sometimes people see police officers as a uniform, it's hard for them to understand the types of jobs we carry," Balcom said. "But they also need to understand we are normal people, with normal lives and families."