Good to Know

A message of support and gratitude to the OUPD

The OU Employee Recognition Committee wishes to acknowledge a group of outstanding professionals who quietly and consistently do remarkable work for the campus community

Police Department, gratitude, service, excellence

icon of a calendarFebruary 14, 2022

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Last Wednesday, more than 3,000 Virginians gathered to remember Police Officer John Painter and Campus Safety Officer Vashon Jefferson, who were shot and killed on the campus of Bridgewater College on Tuesday, February 1.

Their tragic and alarming deaths have likely given pause to police officers across the country, including those here on our own campus. The incident is a poignant reminder of what is routinely at stake in the field of law enforcement.


The men and women of the Oakland University Police Department have worked tirelessly to make OU one of the safest campuses in the country. This is a tremendous achievement, particularly in light of the fact that there are more than 4,000 college and university police departments across the U.S.

The truth, however, is that even with the support and service of such a remarkable group of professionals, there is no iron-clad guarantee of personal safety in any public place. Horrifically, we saw this with the Oxford High School shooting In November. Incidents such as these force us to acknowledge the persistent reality of violence in modern society.

The Bridgewater College shooting, however, illustrates a critical distinction to be made. In life-threatening situations – incidents in which most of us are advised to run or hide – police officers are compelled to step forward. They are called to neutralize threats despite the dire risks and grave potential costs involved.

Most police officers enter the profession not for high pay, personal glory or even ideal working conditions. Quite simply, there is little of that to be had in law enforcement. Rather, most officers respond to a calling to protect and serve. They do this not for themselves, but for us.

There may not be much we can do to minimize the risk of violence that our police and our society face. We can, however, let members of the OUPD know that they are not taken for granted. We can express the great respect and admiration we have for the work they do, as well as how much we value them as irreplaceable members of our campus community.

The Employee Recognition Committee wishes to do exactly this. To the chief, lieutenants, sergeants, officers, dispatchers, support staff and service aids of the OUPD, thank you.

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