By Jacob Savage, ’15
A young man went on a ride-along with a Pierce County sheriff.
“What I saw that day triggered something inside me, and I knew how I would make my difference in the world,” said the young man as he sat in the library. That young man was Brendan Fitzgerald, a student at Pacific Lutheran University.
Most kids don’t dream of becoming police officers when they are young, just they dream of becoming astronauts. Brendan, however, is gaining experience for his dream as part of Campus Safety, the security service here at PLU. This service works closely with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department to protect the community at PLU.
Brendan is in his early twenties with reddish hair and standing a bit over six feet tall. He is not a talkative young man, but serious and professional in his answers. Describing himself as a hard worker and a good leader, Brendan is described by his coworker, Joanna Kraft, as “a really great man with a great work ethic and a really friendly personality.” Methodically, he explains each aspect of campus security. When he operates on campus, he checks each task that needs to be done.
His duties include being part of the first responders to any emergency that may arise on campus, locking and unlocking the doors on campus, walking escorts across campus, patrolling, and occasionally aiding the residetial assistants. Early on in his job, Brendan discovered something strange. Campus safety discovered a man selling marijuana in Chris Knutsen hall.
Of course, due to confidentiality issues, he can’t give the specifics. With problems like this, Campus Safety’s job is talk to the troublemaker and calm them down if they start to act up. For a serious problem, the sheriff’s department is called in, as was done in this case. Campus safety must deal with problems nonviolently and keep a cool head in dangerous situations.
As Brendan put it, “We’re not the fire department and we’re not the police, but we’re dedicated to helping others.” One of the more difficult tasks is called suicide ideation. Suicide ideation deals with people who call in with suicidal thoughts. There is a bit of sadness in Brendan’s voice as he says this, but he doesn’t go into detail.
Even then, Brendan says he still enjoys his job. He talks about the early morning sunrises in the summer. He talks about the albino bat that frequents the area between Ramstad and the University Center. “I’ve felt I’ve made a positive impact at my time here at PLU,” he said. When he’s done at the university, Brendan hopes to join the local police force or join the FBI. There, he can learn the skills and gain the experience for his dream. He never said what he saw that day and perhaps it is better that he didn’t. But he did say what he was to going to do about it. Brendan Fitzgerald is going to prosecute sex trafficking, wherever it may.