Chubbuck Police Officer Tyler Hoffa sits in his police cruiser on Friday, April 2, 2021. Hoffa has been working the weekend night shift since he was hired as a Chubbuck patrol officer in 2019. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com
CHUBBUCK — Officer Tyler Hoffa takes great joy in serving on the Chubbuck Police Department’s weekend night shift — and not just because he is especially susceptible to the harshness of the sun.
“Batman worked nights — it kind of has that vibe to it,” he told EastIdahoNews.com. “Plus, I get sunburned easily, so I try to stay in the dark as much as I can.”
Like so many officers patrolling the streets of Eastern Idaho, the 24-year-old Hoffa can trace his passion for service back to his childhood. For him, it was a visit from the father of a first-grade classmate.
“We had a girl in our class whose dad worked for Pocatello Police Department,” he said. “He came in and did a presentation, brought his cop car, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to be a police officer.”
Hoffa has been with the Chubbuck Police Department since 2019 and has not left the weekend night shift role he was hired to fill.
And before he was patrolling Chubbuck, he was working similar hours at the Idaho State University campus. Immediately following graduation from Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) school in Meridian, Hoffa took a job at ISU Public Safety. It was a job and a means to an end. But more than that, it earned a credit discount for his wife, who is pursuing a career in robotics and will graduate from ISU next semester.
In a conversation with EastIdahoNews.com, Chubbuck Police Chief Bill Guiberson sang Hoffa’s praises, speaking to the difficulty of working the night shift and the way the young officer handles it.
But that is the way Hoffa goes about his duties. It isn’t enough to do the job that so few are able or willing to do. He does it with the service of others constantly at the forefront. He goes about his job with a positive outlook, even in the grimmest of circumstances.
A perfect example of that can be found on the passenger seat of Hoffa’s patrol vehicle, in the form of a softball-sized stuffed animal named Paul the Pig.
Tyler Hoffa’s partner in (solving) crime, Paul the Pig. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com
Paul rides shotgun every night, because, as Hoffa said, so much of the job involves children. And the unfortunate fact of the job, Hoffa said, is that many have a negative outlook on officers, so he has been forced to embrace the pig moniker.
He is happy to change that outlook, though, one person at a time if he must.
“One of my favorite things on the job is when you make a traffic stop or go to a call, and somebody already has a dislike for the police, and they’re letting you know that,” he said. “But at the end of the call, they’re shaking your hand and saying, ‘Hey, man, I’ve never met a cop like you.’”
Having to represent an entire group adds to the badge’s burdening weight, Hoffa said. Especially after what he calls a “tough year for law enforcement.”
With civil unrest encapsulating many major cities across the U.S. surrounding the actions of some officers, Hoffa, like countless others, has been faced with negativity.
He deals with the occasional negativity, middle finger and demeaning language. For the most part, he is able to brush that off as someone who doesn’t know him reacting to his uniform. But for a moment, the otherwise stoic Hoffa offered a glimpse of emotions when he spoke of family, friends, neighbors, even people who were in his wedding, offering the same opinions as a blanket judgement of all police.
“I hope they don’t think that I represent a bad cop in Minneapolis because I don’t,” he said. “If it’s a random person, I don’t care. What breaks my heart is when it’s one of my closest friends. I’m not going to say that all cops are good. There are bad apples, and they make the good ones look bad. If we can weed out the bad ones, that just makes the job a whole lot better. The community, we are required to give them the best service we can, and if we’re not doing that we’re letting them down. They deserve our best, no matter what.”
That is just one of the things that makes policing what Hoffa calls the “greatest worst job in the world.” And it is for that reason that Hoffa takes every call as a challenge to be navigated using his moral compass.
If his compass directs him to help without piling on additional charges, he has done that, even in the case of a warrant arrest who was also in possession of drugs. He didn’t write him up for the drugs, but instead he visited the arrested man at Bannock County Jail to check up.
Hoffa also made waves this week when he and his partner, Officer Miguel Rivera, saved the life of a potential drug overdose victim. The duo found the man in a trailer, Hoffa said, and noticed puncture wounds in his arm, blueing of his face and a weak pulse.
The officers administered two doses of Narcan, and Hoffa sternum rubbed — using the knuckle to rub to the solar plexus in an attempt to revive using pain — the man until he woke up. They continued care until the arrival of EMS.
It was reactionary, he said, just the application of training.
And all this as Hoffa transitions to day shift as seasonal support. Through the summer, Chubbuck’s Batman will serve as a helpful Bruce Wayne, taking his caring “you-first” way of policing to out under the bright summer sun.
“They felt like maybe I needed some Vitamin D or something from the sun,” he said. “First day, I got a bad sunburn.”
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