The UNCG Police Department prides itself on its service to the University, its students, faculty and staff, as well as its dedication to the Greensboro community. To help serve this community, UNCG Police is drawing on the University’s greatest resource: its students.
Through the Student Ranger program, students are getting the opportunity to work closely with UNCG Police and get a feel for a career in law enforcement.
Once they complete the application process and pass a background check, Student Rangers wear the same uniforms as Campus Security officers and act in a similar capacity. They’re responsible for securing and unlocking buildings, conducting safety walks for fellow students, responding to fire, medical and maintenance calls, and other non-emergency functions.
UNCG senior and sociology major Samuel Diezel has worked as a Student Ranger for a year. He said the experience is informing his decision to pursue law enforcement at the federal level, as well as giving dimension to his education.
“Studying criminology involves a lot of theory,” Diezel said. “It’s interesting to read about things in class and see how they play out in the real world. You need the practical experience as much as the book smarts. Being a Student Ranger certainly offers a perspective you won’t get from a lot of other places.”
In addition to providing students experience working with law enforcement professionals, the Student Ranger program also serves as a potential gateway to employment after college. Many former Student Rangers who graduated from UNCG have gone on to full-time positions as full-time police officers right here at UNCG.
UNCG alumnus and UNCG Police officer Richard West came to UNCG in 2011 as a freshman to study sociology and joined the Student Rangers in 2013. Shortly after his graduation in December of 2015, he was hired by UNCG Police and sent to Basic Law Enforcement Training at Guilford Technical Community College. From there, he completed 16 weeks of field training with UNCG Police. He’s worn the badge for UNCG ever since.
“My studies, experiences and professors at UNCG have really made me a better police officer,” West said. “Working here, I found I can apply all those lessons. It’s helped me wear the counselor’s hat as well as the officer’s hat.”
Recruiting students from UNCG isn’t a matter of convenience, but instead a matter of recruiting quality, value-driven employees, said Major Richard Bailey, assistant chief of police at UNCG Police.
“They already get the student culture and they’re bringing that student experience to our department, bringing that student mindset with them,” said Bailey. “They inherently know the University and the area better than anyone else. Their background makes a difference in the way they view safety because their perspective is informed by the student experience. You can’t put a dollar value on the knowledge they come to the department with or the inherent value that gives back to the community.”
Story and photography by Victor Ayala, University Communications