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Who is guarding our campus at night?

Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010 09:01


It’s a very warm spring evening and I’m strolling around campus with two Safety Escort officers – Kai Tomalski and Andrew Breedlove. For me, it’s getting a totally different look of the campus, but for them it’s an everyday routine. Safety Escort officers patrolling campus on their bikes almost every evening from 6:00 p.m. till 11:00 p.m. are students just like the rest of us. I must admit that their job looked like a very boring activity to me at first, but the guys who do it have a different view.

“It’s a fun job,” says Breedlove. “Yeah, and it works well with our academic schedules, too” adds Tomalski.

The fact is that although many people do not realize it, Safety Escort can be really useful and, for example, accompany you home if you finish your classes late.

Alejandra O’Connor is one of the people benefiting from this service. “I first noticed those guys when I was waiting for a bus one night. It was a beautiful evening and I really felt like walking. They offered me the escort and I’ve been using those guys three or four times a week ever since, but it’s not only safety reasons, you also get good conversation with those guys,” admits O’Connor.

What else do they do? “Usually we’re just patrolling different routes,” says Breedlove. The routes are not divided so they can choose where to go. “The goal is to make ourselves visible and we’re also trying to patrol all the places that are not that well-lit,” adds Breedlove.

To do this job well they had to learn the police ten codes. “Those are pretty useful since we can’t really speak too much to the communicators,” laughs Breedlove.

Although it might not seem so, the job does offer some excitement, because however safe the campus is, some unpleasant episodes do happen. “Every once in a while we have to call the police, usually because of a fight. That just happened to me the other day,” says Tomalski. He also faced a situation that he describes as unpleasant. “There was this drunken older guy, who was just impossible to communicate with. I tried to talk to him, but he was mumbling something, which I just could not understand. I had to call the police as he was laying in the EUC walkway,” says Tomalski.

Usually though the job does not require calling the police and the escort is sort of “around.” Many students do not even realize Safety Officers exist. And, among the others, the officers do not necessarily have a favorable image.

“The main problem is that people don’t really take us seriously,” says Tomalski.

“There was this one situation, when some people were calling for help, but when I went to see what’s going on, it turned out to be a joke,” remembers Breedlove. It’s probably going to be hard to fight this image as many people think it’s a joke when they see guys on bikes with a “Safety Escort” T-shirts. Maybe people like Alejandra will make them reconsider their attitude.

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