Keeping People Safe Is a Life Focus for CoolSys Executive
Safety is always on Michael Lyman’s mind. It’s there in his role as the CoolSys corporate director for environmental health and safety — ensuring that the CoolSys team, nationwide, is well trained in safety procedures and protocols and puts that training into practice in their everyday work. Safety is also Michael’s focus in his volunteer service as a reserve officer with the Fullerton, California, Police Department and the North Orange County SWAT team.
For nearly three decades, Michael has volunteered for at least two shifts per month, usually on busy Friday or Saturday evenings. He works till 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. the next morning, on street patrol in a car or on a mountain bike as part of the downtown patrol. When needed, Michael joins the SWAT team, driving the armored BearCat vehicle that helps to deploy and protect SWAT officers in high-risk situations. “Reserve officers may come in with a plan of what we want to do, but ultimately, we do whatever the department needs,” Michael says.
Although there are radio calls to respond to, much of Michael’s patrol work is self-initiated, “looking for things that don’t fit in and trying to stop things from happening,” he says. “For instance, ringing someone’s doorbell at 3 a.m. to let them know they’ve left their garage door open.”
The Roots of a Rewarding Role in Community Service
Michael has always been up for a new challenge or adventure; among his other pursuits, he’s a pilot and a scuba diver. So after doing a ride-along in the early 1990s with a neighbor who was in law enforcement, “I got the bug,” he says. He graduated from the police academy after six months of training at night and on the weekends.
From there, Michael was sworn in as a reserve officer and has since attained Level 1 status, which grants him the ability to work independently, with full powers of arrest. “At this level,” he says, “there’s no difference between a regular officer and a reserve officer, except that the regular officer gets paid and the reserve is a volunteer.”
Helping Others Is His Paycheck
While the work can be physically and emotionally challenging, Michael says it is very rewarding. “There have been several instances where I realize, at the end of my shift, that something bad could have happened if I hadn’t been there,” Michael says.
Welfare checks — mostly making sure elderly residents are OK — are among his most memorable calls. He recalls one time when a son asked for police assistance after being unable to connect with his mother by phone for two weeks. Thankfully, Michael found the woman safe at home, but with a broken telephone. When mother and son finally connected, there were tears of joy from both.
“Volunteering as a reserve officer gives me a sense of purpose,” Michael says, “helping others and doing something bigger than me.”