Thursday, September 27, 2012
Take 5 with Nicole Thompson
Composed of a diverse array of faculty, staff and administrators, the Oakland University community is unique, creative, and dedicated. As part of a continuing effort to explore the various roles and lives of our Golden Grizzlies, the News @ OU website presents a new interview series. We invite you to share these stories and “Take 5” with OU.
“Take 5 with Nicole Thompson”
Nicole Thompson is a sergeant with the Oakland University Police Department. Since joining the OUPD seven years ago, Nicole has performed a number of duties and responsibilities, including working as an evidence technician, and field training officer. As a sergeant, she supervises dispatch operations and assists in upholding Clery Statistics Guidelines for the department. A Michigan native, Nicole earned her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University and her Master’s of Public Administration degree from Oakland. She currently lives in the Macomb area with her husband Steve, daughter Amelia, and German Shepherd Bella.
1) What made you decide to become a police officer?
My dad is in law enforcement, so I grew up interested in the profession. He retired as a captain from the Macomb County Sherriff’s Department and is now the Richmond Chief of Police. I always thought his job was fascinating and I was not interested in a traditional desk job. I love that I am able to meet and interact with people I would not normally see and help solve problems. I was brought up with this kind of life, so I haven’t been too surprised with the types of police calls I have had to respond to or the emergency calls I have gone to.
2) What are the unique challenges of working as an officer on a university campus?
One of the major challenges that we have to overcome as a university department is the idea that we are like security guards. Because we work on campus, people are sometimes surprised when officers enforce laws by pulling people over, ticketing and making arrests. Every officer in our department has been through the police academy and our jurisdiction extends to every border road along campus. We are definitely more community-oriented than traditional city police departments because we do interact more with the population. We work in the dorms, teach Rape Aggression Defense classes, and interact with many of the same people as we work to keep everyone safe.
3) Any favorite television shows?
I can’t help but love police shows! Blue Bloods is really great and shows the hierarchy of a police department accurately but with more drama then I would imagine actually happens in real life. I think on the whole it is pretty accurate. I also like Law and Order and shows like The Voice. When I watch CSI it is a little silly to see how they turn around evidence in the crime labs so fast, when in reality it would take months. Rookie Blues also seems a little ridiculous, a little wild. But it is hard to judge the differences between a major city’s police force and a university police department. They are all still fun to watch!
4) What is something many people don’t know about you?
Travelling is my passion. I love to travel and have been to many places including Alaska, Hawaii, the Dominican Republic, and the Mediterranean. I would love to go to Ireland, it is the next trip I want to plan. I’m Irish and I think it would be an amazing place to see.
5) Are there any common misconceptions about your field?
There are many misconceptions! All of these statements are untrue:
-Police officers are “above the law”
-Officers have “quotas”
-Individual officers can run criminal record checks on anyone, whenever they want.
-Fingerprints can be taken off any surface.
-Police departments are staffed mainly by white males, without minorities or women.
-Police officers don’t make mistakes.