Patrolling the campus

You might have seen her driving around campus in a marked police vehicle. Or maybe she’s helped you jump your car when the battery died.  Shannon Barry isn’t a police officer, though. She’s a student police cadet.

Barry, an Oakland University junior majoring in health science, is responsible for taking care of non-emergency police services all around campus.

The OU Police Department has officers on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even though the officers are constantly present, they rely on cadets to help them out. Barry is one of three current police cadets.

“There is always a cadet on duty Monday through Friday, doing their job to be the eyes and ears of the campus,” Barry said. “We work with the OUPD officers very closely.”

OUPD Captain Mark Gordon, who oversees the cadet program, said the cadets are vital to campus safety.

“(The cadets) provide the necessary support to the police department that allows us to provide quicker, non-emergency services to the OU community,” Gordon said. “OUPD started the cadet program to provide additional staffing so that certain police services could be delivered in a timelier manner.”

Some of Barry’s duties include jump-starting vehicles, checking campus buildings, working special events and maintaining barricades and orange cones. Barry and other cadets will also jump-start cars for free and give students a half gallon of gas to get their cars going if they need it.

“I think the student body should be aware about campus safety,” Barry said.  “We have the emergency notification text messaging system, blue lights and the loud speaker system.”

According to Barry, OUPD has a response time of less than two minutes.

Barry also encourages students to sign up for the emergency text messaging system and places an emphasis on safety education.

“I think students should have the OUPD number (248-370-3333) in their phones in case of an emergency,” Barry said. “Students should also know how to use the Blue-Light system properly.”

The job, which is offered on the career link website, is open to students of any majors. Cadets work for the entire year, making $8 an hour. They are also able to drive the OUPD truck they call EMVET all over campus and on off-campus errands that include picking the officer’s uniforms up from the cleaners. When things are slower, they will wash the truck and fill it up at the gas pumps behind the station and patrol the roads around campus.

“I like mostly everything about my job,” Barry said. “I get to interact with not just students, but I get to go on detail assignments to parts of campus I have not gone to before. I get to meet head faculty members that most students don’t have the opportunity to meet.”

For Gordon, the opportunity to be a police cadet is a great job for any students interested in law enforcement careers.

“Many cadets have gone on to successful police careers at the federal, state and local levels,” Gordon said.  “It is simply a good learning experience and may help create a more attractive résumé for students interested in this line of work.”