Monday, November 1, 2010

Yes, Campus Police Are 'Real' Cops Too...

This article is a followup to the highly popular article "Yes, Airport and Hospital Police Are 'Real' Cops." This is the second in a series of articles honoring the sacrifices of police officers who serve in specialized law enforcement fields.

One of the most high profile, yet misunderstood, areas of law enforcement is campus policing. The moniker "campus police" itself is a reflection of how misunderstood the field is and I use it in the title of this article simply because it gets the point across. The professionals who serve in this important area of police work will tell you it's an obsolete term that's a carry over from when college and university police officers were more security guard than cop. In fact, one of the most highly attended and acclaimed conferences for this line of police work doesn't even have the term "campus" in it: The College & University Police & Investigators Conference (CUPIC) is hosted annually by the George Mason University Police Department in Fairfax, Virginia. I have the privilege of knowing Detective Thomas Bacigalupi, who developed this conference and plans it each year. I highly recommend attending if you're a college/university police officer or a local officer that has a college/university in your patrol area.

Now that each new school year seems to bring with it a new campus shooting or other high profile crimes, the police departments that are chartered with protecting the students, staff, and visitors are under unprecedented attention from politicians and the media alike. Throw into the mix helicopter parents, students who despise all authority, and college administrators who don't want to draw attention to crime on campus, and you've got yourself a real mess if you're a police officer.

But thankfully there are thousands upon thousands of men and women who serve with distinction in this environment, and it doesn't come without sacrifice. Thirty-two police officers with post-secondary institutions have been killed in the line of duty. In fact, the first known death of such an officer was the murder of Night Watchman Joseph Self, of the University of Kentucky Police Department. Watchman Self was fatally shot as he checked the occupants of a car that had come onto campus late at night. Although being shot, Watchman Self returned fire and wounded the suspect. Those wounds ultimately led to the man's arrest the following day.

Sergeant George Sullivan
Just like their city, county, or state counterparts, college and university police officers are not exempt from being targeted just because they wear a badge. In one particularly horrific attack, Sergeant George Sullivan, of the University of Nevada Reno Police Department, was attacked with a hatchet and killed over the school's Christmas break in 1998. He was targeted and murdered for no other reason than he wore a badge. His killer had no connection to the school. He just had a hatred for law enforcement and took the first opportunity he saw to attack a police officer.

As college and university police departments continue to professionalize, it is important to pause to honor those officers who were taken from us too early, but will be remembered forever:

Night Watchman Joseph M. Self University of Kentucky Police Department, KY 1923-02-10
Officer John E. Sutton University of Maine Police Department, ME 1963-09-20
Police Officer Thomas A. Burner University of Nevada Reno Police Department, NV 1968-12-06
Police Officer George Mann University of South Florida Police Department, FL 1970-09-13
Chief of Police Edward O. Kanz University of Washington Police Department, WA 1971-03-31
Police Officer James Joseph Doyle Ventura County Community College District Police Department, CA 1975-03-23
Police Officer Stanley Henney California State University Hayward Police Department, CA 1977-05-31
Police Officer Gary Hart California State University Hayward Police Department, CA 1977-06-01
Detective Richard E. McGilvery Rutgers University Police Department, NJ 1978-10-06
Police Officer Carlton Wayne Sudduth Livingston University Police Department, AL 1980-06-21
Patrol Officer Steven Mitchell University of Chicago Police Department, IL 1983-08-13
Police Officer Edward James Burch Los Angeles Community College District Police Department, CA 1984-12-18
Captain Frank Clements Amarillo College Police Department, TX 1985-05-16
Sergeant Gary F. Beringause Georgia Institute of Technology Police Department, GA 1986-11-28
Patrol Officer Joseph Francis Doyle Brown University Police Department, RI 1988-05-08
Chief of Police Robert L. Brown Cuyahoga Community College Police Department, OH 1988-09-21
Officer Philip J. Stabile Long Beach Community College District Police Department, CA 1990-01-26
Corporal Kevin Weadock Barleycorn University of Arizona Police Department, AZ 1990-08-24
Patrolman Ronald Hoytt Davis Belmont Abbey College Police Department, NC 1993-05-20
Lieutenant Herbert Berkeley Stovall Jr. Peralta Community College District Police Department, CA 1995-08-16
Sergeant Gilbert J. Mast Tulane University Department of Public Safety, LA 1996-01-20
Police Officer I Carmen J. (Skip) Renda Jr. Youngstown State University Police Department, OH 1996-03-16
Police Officer Michael Blankenship Ohio State University Police Department, OH 1997-02-10
Police Officer Peter Conrad Johnson Jr. North Harris Montgomery Community College District Police Department, TX 1997-06-08
Sergeant George Daniel Sullivan University of Nevada Reno Police Department, NV 1998-01-13
Corporal Phillip Lorenzo Lee Alabama State University Police Department, AL 2000-12-01
Police Officer James L. Davis Jr. Butler University Police Department, IN 2004-09-24
Detective Anthony J. (Tony) Hosey Illinois State University Police Department, IL 2005-04-25
Corporal Mario Roberto Jenkins University of Central Florida Police Department, FL 2005-09-24
Police Officer Robert Michael Langley University of Mississippi Police and Campus Safety Department, MS 2006-10-21
Police Officer Thomas Devlin Boston College Police Department, MA 2007-04-06
Staff Sergeant Steven Raul Medeiros Kennesaw State University Department of Public Safety, GA 2008-09-26