As the “faces of the department,” the Special Services Unit at Bellevue Police Department aims to engage with and protect the city.
With fewer than 10 SSU officers, the unit has a plethora of jobs around the city that range from road patrol to community events.
A BPD officer for 19 years, SSU officer Chris Abbott said his favorite aspect of the job is getting to know the residents of Bellevue.
“One of the reasons I became a police officer is to go out and help people, but I do like going out and talking to people,” he said.
Officers can apply to be on the SSU after completing their initial job as road patrol.
Abbott graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in sociology. He is married with two children.
Abbott’s primary duty is traffic, which consists of road complaints, radar trailers, speeding and even school zones.
SSU, which includes the Motorcycle Unit, primarily does behind-the-scenes jobs such as parade patrol, escorts, community events such as Holiday Heroes and Cops and Bobbers, training assistance with new recruits, presentations at schools and businesses and neighborhood complaints.
“We mainly do the stuff that doesn’t burden road patrol,” Abbott said.
With different community events going on almost every day, Abbott said SSU officers never have a typical shift.
“It can change every day,” he said. “My days are usually traffic unless something pops up.”
As an SSU officer, Abbott said he deals with a variety of issues, including non-severe traffic complaints or radar trailer complaints.
“We do the best we can,” he said. “A lot of people and officers don’t know what we do — they think it’s a cushy thing. There’s a little challenge with that, but we’re all on the same team. We work really well together.”
Though Abbott and the SSU attend different events every week, he enjoys bonding with and helping children at events such as Holiday Heroes.
“There are parents that come up and they don’t ask for the help, but when we can help them, I enjoy doing that,” he said of Holiday Heroes.
Abbott said the SSU is an important part of police departments because it allows the community to connect with police officers.
“What we do with the community, activities we do is very important because it keeps that community relations going,” he said. “They see us several times for different events and they all know us. It’s good to have the guys that know what they’re doing at these events. Just working with the community is fun.”