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      Police ride-along with a twist

      Lisa Benette, a recent graduate of the NMU Police Academy, is now an Ironwood Public Safety officer. With five months on the job, working 12 hours per shift, she's already seen her share of situations.

      "You're going to have those people that are going to go against you and think you're wrong when you're right, but that makes the world go around. It kind of makes the job interesting," said Benette.

      Although the police academy prepared her well, Andrew DiGiorgio says other traits made her stand out above other applicants.

      "Family was just very important to her. Making a difference in the community and getting involved in local youth," said DiGiorgio.

      For her, it's more than just being an officer.

      "Being able to help someone. People rely on you. You have an emergency, you're the first person that they're going to contact. I think that's very rewarding because you earn to wear this badge, to wear this uniform, and should stand by your duties. I feel that's rewarding enough," Benette said.

      She spends most of her day patrolling the roads, keeping residents safe, making sure drivers are obeying the law.

      "Right here you can see it crossed over. Across your neck and shoulder instead of on your own. That's how you can tell," Benette said.

      Within five minutes, she pulls over a driver for not wearing a seatbelt.

      "He was very compliant with me; he has respect for me. I didn't have any attitude. He doesn't have any wants or warrants. I'm going to give him a warning," Benette explained.

      After letting him go, the day took a bit of a turn. A van slammed into us, spinning the car around, and we became the accident.

      "I didn't really know what happened, how bad the damage was. All I know is that after I saw the van (had) struck us, and that's the thing that popped in my head--if everyone's OK," Benette said.

      Stepping out the car, we found pieces scattered along the street--the entire bumper had been ripped off, a huge dent was in the back door. Benette immediately secured the perimeter.

      Before I knew it, the place was surrounded by police officers, and an ambulance was on the way. The driver of the van did get a citation for failure to yield.

      What was unexpected is an experience Lisa will never forget.