Student Officer Spotlight: The SO Experience

    Walker receives his corporal promotion certificate.
    February 6, 2019
    By: SO Cpl Ryan Walker
    "Working as a Student Office has been so much more rewarding than I could have ever imagined."- SO Cpl Ryan Walker

    This article originally appeared in The Dispatch, The University Police Department's newsletter. Read it here.

    I transferred to The University of Scranton as a sophomore in the fall semester of 2017. Before the start of the semester, I was looking for potential places to work on campus and I came across the University Police web page. I found some information about the Student Officer program and found it very intriguing. I have always been interested in law enforcement, so I decided to apply.

    Once I was hired, I was welcomed with open arms and immediately became a part of the University Police family. My coworkers made my first few weeks at The University of Scranton so much easier because it gave me people to talk to when I didn’t know anyone else. Some of those people are now my closest friends.

    I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I applied, but working as a Student Officer has been so much more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. As a Student Officer, I am a link between the University Police and the community that we serve. Every single shift I work is different and I never know what kind of situations I may encounter while on patrol. I have learned to be prepared for anything and to treat the people with whom I interact with dignity and respect. Through handling different situations, I have learned how important it is to remain level headed when responding to a call for service.

    Because of the nature of the situations I am involved with, I have been able to improve my critical thinking and conflict resolution skills, as well as the ability to make quick decisions under pressure. Above all, working as a Student Officer has enhanced my leadership capabilities, my interpersonal skills and my ability to understand people. These skills I have learned, and continue to learn, are very important in any law enforcement field. I am confident that these skills will help me get a job after I graduate, and will help to differentiate myself from other applicants.

    This past summer I was lucky enough to apply the skills I learned in the SO program while working for the Ocean City, Maryland, Police Department as a public safety officer. All the skills and knowledge I gained while working as a Student Officer applied to my time in Ocean City. From the application processes to my last day on the job, I felt extremely comfortable and prepared while working for OCPD. It is a large department, and everything is very fast paced, but I was able to adapt and succeed very quickly. I attribute that success to my time spent with the University Police Department.

    My experience as a Student Officer helped me to expertly handle many stressful situations that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. As an ROTC Cadet and future Army officer, the ability to lead and interact well with others is key. Working as a Student Officer has greatly enhanced my leadership skills and my confidence in the ability to lead others.

    Since being promoted to Student Officer Corporal, I have taken on the responsibility of supervising a shift and training new Student Officers. My role as a Corporal is to develop other Student Officers, mentor them, evaluate them and hold us all accountable for our actions. These are the basics of leadership and are the same tasks I will be performing as an Army officer, so it is great practice and development for me. Additionally, the other skills I have picked up in the Student Officer program directly relate to the Army. Being an Army officer means being good at managing people so the interpersonal, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills I have learned will be a great help for me in my future.

    I am looking forward to the next year-and-a-half working as a Student Officer in the program. Once I graduate, I know I will always be grateful for my time spent with University Police and all the valuable lessons it will have taught me.

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