Christine Labombard

Christine Labombard’s mother and father both served in the Air Force, a cousin was in the Army, and an uncle worked as a sheriff ’s deputy in Texas, so it only made sense for her to become a police officer. “Law enforcement is something I’ve always been around,” she explained. “It was a natural step for me.” When asked why she chose local law enforcement over the military, Labombard cited her desire to be near her family, her love of the Plattsburgh area and her desire to go to college.

Labombard has spent her entire life in the North Country. She went to Beekmantown Central School, then to Clinton Community College for two years before finishing her Criminal Justice degree at SUNY Plattsburgh. Then she began the lengthy process of pursuing a career in law enforcement. “I took every test imaginable,” she said. “I took border patrol, court officer, state trooper everything. It’s hard—a lot of people go into the field, so it’s very hard to get your foot in the door. You need to do well on the tests and then do well on the follow-up and hope that they’re still hiring by the time they get to your name on the list.”

In April of 2015, Labombard’s hard work paid off when she was hired by the Plattsburgh City Police Department. She spent April through August working in the dispatch cen- ter at the station, then started at the Zone 9 Training Academy at the end of August. On February fifth Labombard graduated from the Academy, and has been on the road with field training officers ever since.

“Hopefully in May,” she said, “I’ll be cut loose, driving by myself and ready to go.”

EXCERPTS FROM SB’S INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINE LABOMBARD:
When I’m not in uniform: “I like to make jewelry and I like to ride horseback. I used to do horse shows.”

People wouldn’t guess that: “I’m a major X-Files nerd. I love Dana Scully. I’m not going to go so far as to say she inspired me to be a police officer, but I definitely love her. They’re going to rag on me at work for that.”

The best advice I’ve ever received: “Make sure everything at home is straight and taken care of. That way when you get to work, you can take care of your family at work.”

My advice to aspiring officers:
1. “Stay physically active, because the academy is no joke.”
2. “Get a degree, because it’s a long waiting period. Have a back-up plan, but don’t give up on your dream. It just takes time.”
3. “Stay out of trouble. Make good decisions. Surround yourself with good people that won’t influence you in bad ways.”
4. “Keep in touch with family and friends. Have a good support system. When you do get hired, there’s going to be a lot of stress. Have a good safety net to help you through that.”

Why I love my department: “I’ve been really lucky. My department is excellent. Everyone is super supportive. Everyone is eager to share what they know with you. They want you to succeed. They give you the best pieces of themselves, and when you go from training officer to training officer you take bits and pieces from everyone and you mold into your own police officer. Also, I like the Plattsburgh Police Department because we handle such a variety of things. We do traffic, we do DWIs, we do domestics, we go to aided calls with the ambulance. I like the range of calls we respond to.”

“Knowing a lot of people in the area and having a strong sense of the community is really helpful for our job. You’re actively making the place you live a better place.”

My favorite thing about the Plattsburgh area: “I have a lot of community contacts. I worked at Pizza Bono for years and years and years. Knowing a lot of people in the area and having a strong sense of the community is really helpful for our job. You’re actively making the place you live a better place.”

Day shift or night shift?: “Nights are fun. There’s a lot of action. You get into larger scale emergency response complaints. But days are cool. I like days because you get more of the investigative aspects, where you can follow up on leads, go to businesses and check videos.”
The truth about police officers and coffee is: “Days you drink coffee; nights you hit the Red Bull.”