Police Officer Linda Utz has a common bond with the people she protects.

The eight-year Dallas Police Department veteran has only been working with Northeast Division for two months. But she already is an expert on the area she patrols – Ferguson and Peavy Road – because she grew up there. Utz attended Bishop Lynch High School and is a member of St. Bernard of Clairvaux Church.

“I feel like I’ve come home,” Utz says.

Knowing many of the people she protects makes her job more rewarding, Utz says.

She patrols from 3:30-11 p.m. and responds to a variety of calls, including burglaries, thefts, sexual assaults and suspicious persons. Utz also responds to 911 calls, even those accidentally dialed by a child – an event she says is common.

But Utz says even these accidental visits to a home aren’t a waste of time.

“Anytime I go somewhere in the City, I’m being seen, and that’s a good thing,” she says.

Instead of returning to the police station, Utz often parks behind her church while writing her nightly report. Her presence, she says, is appreciated by church members and neighborhood residents because the recent vandalism in the area.

Utz worked as a negotiator with the police department’s tactical unit for two years before asking to be transferred back to patrol so she could spend more time with her fiancée, who also is an officer with the special unit.

One of the reasons she’s happy with her new beat, Utz says, is because officers in the Northeast Division seem to be involved in the community.

Utz is member of the Dallas Police Department’s choir and Tactical Negotiator’s Association. She is a former instructor of the Law Enforcement Teaching Student Program.