Right at home

Chelsea Ishman gets her start as Tidioute police chief

Photos submitted to Times Observer Mayor Pam Mclaughlin and new Tidioute Borough Police Chief Chelsea Ishman at the council meeting Monday.

Chelsea Ishman feels right at home.

It’s not as if her new job as Tidioute Borough police chief isn’t dangerous. It’s not as if it won’t be challenging.

But she already loves the small-town feel of Tidioute and is ready to get started.

“I love this town so much already — Everyone waves to you as they drive by,” she said.

Technically, Ishman got started on Monday.

Chelsea Ishman

She graduated from the police academy at Mercyhurst University less than a year ago and succeeds Jarrod Deeter as Tidioute police chief.

“When I was a kid, I was intrigued by law enforcement,” said Ishman, a Youngsville High School graduate. “Initially, I wanted to become a coroner.”

In Tidioute, Ishman doesn’t want to deal with anything of that nature.

“I’m definitely not out to make a name for myself. I have no desire to bust out a bunch of tickets,” she said. “I want to learn about the people, and a big goal of mine is to get involved with the school, and everyone out here.”

She’s well aware that she’s a woman and that it’s a one-person police department.

“It’s definitely going to be challenging because I’m the only person here… in a male-dominated area,” said Ishman.

“But nothing is going to be overlooked,” she said. “Everyone should know that I’m here and feel free to call. I do want to be involved.”

“We’re a small town and fortunate enough to have a charter school,” said Ishman. “They (borough council) expect me to pay attention to the school zone. We also have a lot of enforcing ordinances within the borough limits.”

Ishman said community outreach will be a big part of her job. And not just public relations.

She said she has a responsibility to get to know state police. Tidioute is pretty far from neighboring law enforcement.

“It’s kind of a vacation town per se,” she said. “Being outdoorsy, it’s kind of what drew me to the town.”

Mayor Pam McLaughlin said being a small town is what’s great about Tidioute, but “we have a lot of beautiful little children in this town,” and “we’re hoping that (Chelsea is) a great asset to us.”

McLaughlin emphasized speeding violations and school safety as priorities.

“We’re a small little town, and we didn’t get many applications,” said McLaughlin, “but she’s new to the business, so we’re hoping we can mold her and help her with her career. We were impressed with her, and I think she’s going to (have a successful career).”

McLaughlin said it brings a sense of security to the community to have a police force — even of one — “because we are so far away.”

“We are quite a ways down here, but the Sheriff’s Department and PA State Police do a lot for us,” said McLaughlin.