BY SUSAN M. BRACKNEY
Before Cagney & Lacey ever aired, Indiana University Police Department Chief Laury Flint knew she wanted to be a cop. “I was 8,” Flint says. “My parents were supportive, but they hoped I’d eventually change my mind and go into something safer.”
Flint, an Indianapolis native, started out wanting to work in Los Angeles. “You know, move to a big city, far away,” she says. “Get a new start. And some excitement.” But after earning a criminal justice degree from IU and completing IU Police Academy training in 1981, reality set in.
“I had no money, and I was figuring out how I’d get to LA,” Flint recalls. The next year she accepted an IUPD patrol position. “I thought it would be a stepping stone,” she says. “I’d get some experience, put some money away, and move on. But I fell in love with Bloomington. I’ve been here for 35 years now.”
During that time, Flint has seen attitudes toward women in law enforcement evolve. “When I started, women were still not fully accepted,” she says. “But people don’t necessarily see ‘male’ or ‘female’ like they used to. Now, they see the uniform and what it stands for.”
Flint patrolled for 20 years, moving up to sergeant, lieutenant, then deputy chief. She also completed FBI National Academy leadership training. After IUPD Chief Keith Cash’s unexpected death in spring 2013, Flint took over as interim chief, and was appointed chief later that year.
She says working with a student population involves more brains than brawn, and an educational focus. “The biggest part of this job is communication,” she says. “We try to prevent the overdoses, tragedies, victims of crime. But we’re dealing with an age group that feels invincible and immortal.”
Flint’s own perspective on life has been shaped by a battle with breast cancer that began when she was 32. “I’m 57 now and I’m proud of that,” she says. “I went through chemotherapy treatments and radiation. . . . It’s never really gone from your experience. You never know how long you’re going to have on this earth. You have to make the most of every day.”
To that end, Flint makes time to take walks with her husband, Bill (they will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in July), and to putter in the garden. But, she says, she never strays too far. “I’m on call 24/7/365, so ‘off work’ is kind of a loose term,” she admits.