UC Personality: Lynn Whitten
Meet the cop who'd rather not arrest you
Published: Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 14:03
Officer Lynn Whitten didn't just become an officer to kick ass; she wants to teach others how to kick ass and fend for themselves.
Whitten is the community resource officer for UC Denver and has been with the department for 26 years. She primarily focuses on crime statistics, education and training, and crime prevention.
Though Officer Whitten can be seen mostly on the Anschutz Medical Campus, she plays a big role in the community, speaking to kids at schools and showing them the inside of her police car.
"The first question they ask is, ‘Is that a real gun' and is it loaded. They seem to tend to focus on that," Whitten said.
Whitten also educates women on how to prevent and prepare for an assault or abuse. Along with three large male officers, Whitten teaches and shows them how to "avoid, recognize, reduce, and be aware" of aggressive and abusive situations.
"At the end of the class, we give them the opportunity to go up against the guys who are in fully padded suits," Whitten said.
When she isn't sporting her heavy blue uniform that contains four gold stripes, each representing five years of service, Whitten is either rocking out to Queen, fishing or hiking in the mountains, or acting as committee chair for her 8-year-old son's Cub Scout pack.
"We tied knots a few weeks ago, and when the kids finally got it, that ‘wow' factor was there and it's like they'll never forget that," she said.
Besides helping in the community as an officer, Whitten likes to give a helping hand to her friends when she isn't in uniform. Just don't ask her to help with pouring concrete. While helping to build a hot tub pad at a neighbor's, "I got a little overconfident in my abilities to dump the concrete into the hole. [It] went out of the wheelbarrow into the hole just fine; I went over the wheelbarrow and into the hole just fine, too."
Though Whitten has never had to shoot her gun in a critical situation, she's had to tend to a few terrifying calls.
"All that was said was ‘He's got a gun' and they hung up," she said.
Whitten was called to the University Hospital after an oncology patient, on trial for his parents' murder, pulled a gun from the officer on guard and threatened to take his own life. The man was restrained, yet died a few days later from Leukemia.
Aside from the difficult calls and situations, there's nothing Whitten would rather do more than be an officer at UCD.
"Come up and say hi to me." she said.
Let's just hope that the interactions with her don't end with seeing the back of her police car.