As a University student, Susan Holmes was captain of the women's volleyball team. She was a member of the Chi Omega sorority. She knew what it meant to study all hours of the night. As a police officer, Susan Holmes is one of two new lieutenants in the University Police Department. She is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. She knows what it means to be on patrol all hours of the night. Holmes came to the University almost 13 years ago as an undergraduate and excelled athletically and academically during her college years. But, being a third generation police officer, she knew from the outset what she wanted to do after college. There was no criminal justice department at the University, so Holmes majored in sociology while also taking courses in psychology, legal studies, and English. Holmes, who lives in Delaware County with her husband and their nine-month-old son James, joined the University Police Department in September 1983, after a year of working in Gloucester County with delinquent children and teenagers. And because her family had a long history in law enforcement, Holmes said last week that her parents weren't too worried about their daughter pursuing the family business. "They were very proud that I chose this profession," she said. "They understood the stresses and the dangers, but because they went through it first hand, they knew how to cope with it." The 31-year-old lieutenant walked beats as an officer for nearly five years until March 1988 when she was promoted to sergeant. Two and a half years later, she was promoted to lieutenant. Holmes has received numerous letters of commendation for her outstanding service in the department, but she does not wear the bars on her uniform to show off her awards. "I know what I'm capable of and my co-workers know what I'm capable of," she said. "I don't need to advertise it to anyone else." And because she was a student at the University, Holmes said that she thinks she has a unique perspective on crime and her job to protect the residents of the University community. "I see things from both sides of the fence," she said. She said problems arise when students think University Police are only here to protect them while forgetting that they must enforce all laws. "[The students think] that the University Police are there just to serve them," Holmes said. "They don't always realize that we're here to uphold the law and also to instruct and guide students to become pro-active." "Pro-activity," Holmes insisted, is one of the most valuable lessons University Police can teach students, faculty and staff. She stressed that people can not expect to deal with crime only after it happens, but must learn to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Holmes said she thinks the University community has gained more of a trust in the department in the past few years. "I don't think there's any more or any less crime than there was," she said. "People just have more confidence in the department nowadays. People have come to feel that they can rely on us to deal with crime." Holmes said she sees her job as a way to give back to the University. "A diploma from this University served me very well when I was looking for jobs in social work," she said. "Now it's my turn to repay the school and its residents by serving them."Comments powered by Disqus
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