A ride along with an OUPD

Sergio Montanez

Admit it, Denzel Washington’s character in “Training Day” was absolutely classic, courageous and most importantly, epic. But, the portrayal of what police officers do in the movie is overly exaggerated. The work that police officers do have a larger role than just arresting drug lords.

Police Officer Larry Dugan has been working for the Oakland University Police Department since April, 2012. For the past 5 years, Dugan worked the night shift but recently made the switch to the day shift.

Dugan starts his shift in the early mornings by having a briefing with the rest of his colleagues. At the briefing, officers go through the night shift’s reports and events happening on campus throughout the day.

Dugan began his patrol route by heading to the Meadow Brook estate, passing the Human Health Building and the Ann V. Nicholson Student Apartments on the way. He likes to scan the Meadow Brook Amphitheatre and the Sunset Terrace.

Unbeknownst to most people, Oakland University’s Police Department’s perimeter extends beyond the university’s campus. Officers are able to make normal traffic stops on the four major roads surrounding the university. Making his way back on to campus, Dugan reminisces of past times in which he’s had to attend to emergency calls. On one particular instance, he had an odd circumstance happen.

“I got call to attend to a student who had injured himself while dancing,” he said. “Turns out, the student was an athlete and he had completely thrown his knee out, completely twisting it all the way around.”

Later in the year, Dugan received a call to a medical emergency. Upon hearing that an athlete had injured himself at a big dance competition, he knew right away who it was.

“It was the same kid whom I had attended to earlier in the year,” he said. “He had suffered the same exact injury, just on the opposite leg. It was strange.”

Turning back onto campus and surveying the remainder of the campus, Dugan discusses the significance of his duties.

“We’re here to assist and help people,” he said. “Being here gives us the ability to do much more than other places. We’re able to do our job like no other place. We can create a more proactive policing.”

After looking over the campus, Dugan makes his way back to the station for a short briefing before heading out and making his way around campus once again.

There aren’t scripted days while working at Oakland. At any point in time, an officer can be pulling some students over for speeding and surfing on top of the car, which has happened to Dugan before.

“I got into this job because I got a sense of job satisfaction. I’m able to help people, I want to help people. When I go home, it feels good to know that I’ve done something good for people,” said Dugan.

Like Ethan Hawke’s character in “Training Day,” students can become more familiar with the campus police officers and their job responsibilities by going on a ride-along.

“Anybody can request a ride-along; it’s always there,” Dugan said. “We are always here for you, for everybody, to ensure your safety and the safety of the whole university.”