Metro, Column

COLUMN: BCPD’s Well-Deserved Thank You

Boston College rests on about 350 acres of prime real estate nestled between the city of Boston and the residential neighborhood of Newton. What’s special about BC is that it prides itself on access to a city while still retaining an enclosed campus where most students interact together in common areas.

Students’ safety on campus, however, is sometimes affected by the school’s close proximity to a major city, and the University and BCPD work tirelessly to ensure that students can feel safe at all times when on campus.

BCPD is not a typical college police force. Actually, the group is very unique in that it is granted the rights of an actual police force, as well has the ability to exercise its authority outside of the Boston College area. BCPD operates with 51 sworn-in police officers that work full-time to provide 24 hour-a-day services. “Working together for a safer community” is the motto of the Boston College Police Department. In many ways this is difficult, since the campus is split into five sectors. BCPD, however, is a specialized police force that serves the community in many ways that go far beyond basic law enforcement.

BC students and BCPD are not always on the best of terms. I know police officers probably despise us during most nights on the weekend, and rightfully so. After numerous drunken encounters with students in the Mods and lurking around Late Night, I’m always surprised to see an officer smile and wave at passing students crossing CoRo on Monday morning.

Despite some of the complaints surrounding BC, I think now is a good time to take a moment to really appreciate all of the work that BCPD does to keep our community safe. Since the turn of the new year, there has been an uptick in violence in Boston.

In fact, there have already been 10 homicides since January, and 75 guns taken off the streets. Although Mayor Martin J. Walsh, WCAS ’09 established his safety initiative-designed to cut back on gun violence-we live in a time where gun violence is an issue. I believe at BC we are truly blessed to be living in a college community devoid of this type of serious violence and danger.

With the 1-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings on the horizon, I think now is an appropriate time to recognize and appreciate the work of our police force

Last year, Officer Sean Collier died protecting the student population of MIT. Collier is a true hero who put the safety of thousands of students before his own. Sometimes BCPD officers need to protect us from ourselves, but as last year’s events have shown, sometimes BCPD needs to step in when there is a threat of external danger. Last year when the entire city was on lockdown, BCPD didn’t hide with the rest of the city awaiting the end of a manhunt. Instead, they came in to work and ensured the safety of the BC community.

What’s remarkable about BCPD is that it is not just a unit or a force. It is so much more. BCPD officers are not out to get us all in trouble. They are reasonable. They know we’re in college and like to have fun. But they also know that sometimes we get out of control and need to be put in check.

BC students take for granted the 51 full-time officers that keep our community safe day in and day out. They are a dedicated group that too often goes unrecognized for their accomplishment.

Next time you see a BCPD vehicle trolling around Upper Campus or an officer walking through the Mods, take a moment to thank the officers who protect our school each day and make BC a safe place.


February 19, 2014