StudentAug 13, 2018Campus News
By: Brittany Colon

Leading and Serving Through the Student Officer Program

I found the idea of a student-run program, mentored by police officers, intriguing, and I was motivated by the opportunity to build leadership skills and serve others through this vital campus program.
Leading and Serving Through the Student Officer Program

My Student Officer career started the spring semester of my sophomore year as I looked for a position that would lead me to live out the mission of our university. I found the idea of a student-run program, mentored by police officers, intriguing, and I was motivated by the opportunity to build leadership skills and serve others through this vital campus program.

Applying to this program allowed me to unknowingly take my first few steps towards my future career. As a criminal justice major I was immediately drawn to the chance to enhance the safety of the University community. Although I am one of only a few Student Officers who work day shift, I previously worked night shift with my squad. The situations encountered on a University campus of 6000 students on any given night keep us active to say the least, however I have found working the day shift to be

much more rewarding. There is very little that is predictable about the campus Student Officer job, however, on any given shift, I can always count on using communication and conflict management skills. It is essential that Student Officers see ourselves as liaisons between University of Scranton Police officers and the community and act accordingly. I feel as though I am giving back to those that have done so much for me throughout my years as a University of Scranton student. Typically, I let faculty into their offices when they forget their keys as well as letting my peers into their rooms when they get locked out. Gaining the respect of my fellow students is incredibly important to me and therefore I treat everyone I encounter with dignity and respect.

I am pursuing a career in law enforcement because I feel as though it will be the perfect avenue to work in service to and for others. For me, the position will not be about the authority trusted to law enforcement officers, but about the lives I will be able to impact in a positive way. My work as a Student Officer has given me a multitude of life skills. During Academy Week all Student Officers are trained in CPR/ First Aid, and become AED certified. Student Officers take self-defense classes, go through driving training, as well as participate in scenario-based training to prepare us for possible encounters. All of these certifications and trainings are required before a student can begin work as a University of Scranton Student Officer.

The most rewarding part of this position is the critical thinking skills that I have developed. Another major life skill that I have cultivated through my experience as an SO is interviewing others. Because of my successful experience in this capacity, I have been trusted with the responsibility of serving on interview panels. These panels conduct interviews for potential Student Officers, as well as discuss promoting current SOs within the student ranks. I am honored to be able to say that I helped peers advance and learn the same life lessons I have learned.

I have applied to the Ocean City Maryland Police Department for a position on their force and was offered a conditional hire. I am in the process of applying to other Federal agencies across the country. I also applied to the PA State Police. After taking the rigorous written exam, PSP informed me that I did well and offered to allow me to do an oral interview and was told I "blew it out of the water". I cannot, however, take complete credit for those accolades. Without the training and experience of serving as a Student Officer and the help of the individuals that mentored me, as well as the support of the entire University Police Department, I wouldn’t have been as prepared for the interviews. Watching these professionals daily and having them as mentors unequivocally helped me become prepared for my future as a leader in law enforcement.

I credit much of my success in my professional and personal life to the men and women that put the uniform on at The University of Scranton and who make our campus community safe. Whether students or sworn officers, these classmates, men and women, have all made a formative and lasting impact on my life. One day I hope to come back and put a patch on the wall of the agency I work for. I will be able to proudly look back and tell myself that the Student Officer program is where it all started.

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