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Dear Campus Police,

Times are tough for you. I get it. I’ve been there. I used to be a campus police officer and have been called a ‘glorified mall cop,’ ‘rent-a-cop,’ ‘security,’ and ‘not the real police.’ Tensions between students, community members, and the police are at an all-time high. Quite frankly, it can get old.

I want to send some hope your way.

Out there on your very own campus, there is a group of people who are working together to make your job and your life much easier. They want to lower your stress! They have looked at the data time and time again. Done focus groups, student surveys, community surveys, and hours of analysis. Based on the information they have collected, they have identified key problems to address that will make your life easier. They have built their capacity to address those problems. They have worked to mobilize local resources, readiness, improve the systems, and increase their knowledge to address these...

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Tips for Engaging with Law Enforcement

When sharing my prevention story, I often tease that I went from enforcement to prevention. That is partially true as I was a campus police officer prior to working solely in prevention. That switch isn’t as far-fetched as most would think. Enforcement plays an important role in prevention. In fact, you won’t be able to implement environmental change strategies unless you collaborate with your law enforcement agencies.

Collaborating is exciting, but it also can seem scary – particularly for people unaccustomed to working with law enforcement. During my time as a campus police officer, I had the opportunity to collaborate with the student conduct office, health education resource center, counseling center, housing staff, athletics, and student government, and I was a member of the alcohol and other drug coalition. Through these collaborations, I built my prevention knowledge, had access to more resources, and helped me reach more students. These efforts were a...

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Homecoming Season & Prevention

Every fall college campuses across the country celebrate homecoming. Often this involves a parade, tailgating before the big game, and large parties after the game. From the college student’s perspective, homecoming can mean a pre-party the night before, alumni returning to campus to join in the fun, beer breakfast/ keg n eggs, tailgating filled with beer bongs and keg stands, followed by 4 o’clock club and a night of house parties.

If you step back and look at the big picture, you can certainly see the need for environmental prevention strategies. Environmental strategies work to change the conditions within a community, including physical, social, or cultural factors that may lead to high-risk drinking behavior. I like to break them down into two groups: 1) community and education 2) enforcement.

Community and Education

Working to influence how the public thinks and behaves can be done through the media. The combination of communication strategies can influence...

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Motivational Interviewing for Campus Police - Book Foreword

Any law enforcement officer who reads this book on “Motivational Interviewing” will find him/herself in a win-win situation.  The book is a quick read and will motivate the reader to peruse the material quickly in order to get to the end where there are examples to assist in the implementation of “Motivational Interviewing” (MI). Although the book is geared towards campus police officers the material and concept are beneficial to all law enforcement. If one considers the situation now involving law enforcement personnel and the public, an officer would be truly missing a chance to not only defuse a potential physical situation but also develop new and improved lines of communication with the public (albeit one at a time!) An officer can never have too many “sources of information” on the street and this book will help the officer in developing and maintaining those contacts. The public can/will develop an enhanced and positive image of law...

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College Drinking Behavior

There are two ways to look at alcohol consumption—by frequency and quantity. What I have been seeing on campus is that most students don’t drink frequently, yet when they do drink it is at a high quantity. A smaller percentage of the students will do both, frequent and in high quantity. These students who don’t drink frequently, but in high quantity will naturally see less of the negative consequences of drinking and thus be more willing to accept drinking heavily on the weekends as a normal part of college.

In general, college students do not see anything wrong with their own drinking habits but are quick to identify those self-destructive habits in others. The truth is, students are far less concerned with their drinking behavior than the campus administration is. I often hear from students that they already know everything they need to about alcohol and drinking.

The students—no matter what year in school—say that alcohol education programs should be...

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HowMotivationalInterviewingFitsintoCampusPolicing

Officers are in a unique position to talk to students. First of all, officers in uniform possess a certain level of authority or “position of power” when talking to someone just by being in uniform. Secondly, when faced with a possible enforcement situation (i.e. an underage student found in possession of alcohol), that student’s motivation to change is very high. Before that contact with the officer, the student likely was not thinking about his drinking behavior or whether he should change that behavior. There’s something about coming in contact with an officer that will often trigger thoughts about a change in behavior. Funny how that works!

Imagine being pulled over for speeding. Regardless of whether you get a ticket or not, you will spend the next few minutes or days paying more attention to your speed. These change thoughts are triggered without any evoking or talking. You are prompted by an interaction with a person in uniform.

As a campus police...

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Cops & Life Coaches

Yesterday morning I spent some quality time on the treadmill and as I was trudging along, I was listening to the audiobook, Quitter by Jon Acuff. Interesting combo, right?

In this book, Jon brings up the idea of finding parallels between your day job and your dream job. This was a topic I briefly touch on in my graduation speech, bringing your passion into your profession. Finding those parallels is what I was actually doing. So that is what I am going to share with you today, the parallels between a police officer and a life coach.

Police Officer & Life Coach

Service-Oriented & A Helping Hand
The sheer nature of these two is very service-oriented. No matter how you look at it police are here to help and serve you. They come to the rescue when you are having a “not so good” day or they are enforcing the law to keep your community safe. If you are the target of the second, I’m sure at the moment you don’t feel it’s helping, but take a step...

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From College Student to College Cop

Eastern Illinois University is not just a college; it is the starting block towards success. Let me tell you why I first chose Eastern. Throughout my life, I have learned from many ordinary people who attended Eastern and went on to accomplish extraordinary things. My father is an ordinary man with an exceptional work ethic who was honored with EIU’s Distinguished Alumnus Award following his retirement. Growing up, I heard my parents recall the stories of how they met each other and made life-long friends at Eastern. I knew Eastern was a special place, and I wanted to be a part of it.

My appreciation for Eastern grew throughout my undergraduate career, especially as I was deployed to Iraq in my junior year as a member of the Illinois Army National Guard. Preparing for a deployment can be a little stressful. Eastern provided significant support throughout my deployment. My chemistry professor, Dr. Mark McGuire, took the time to sit down with me and outline a way that I could...

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