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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Patrol keeps Penrose busy

When beginning a new job most people are nervous, which may lead to mistakes. Patrolman Justin Penrose let his nerves get the best of him on his first traffic stop six years ago.

“My first traffic stop, I forgot to put the car in park,” he said. “It didn’t make a big damage because it was an older truck but it was enough just to tap it.”

He apologized and let the man go without a ticket.

Since then Penrose has become much more comfortable with his job and has developed his own style as a patrolman.

He has been working for the University police department, patrolling the campus for almost three years. Prior to coming to Bowling Green he worked as an officer in Port Clinton for three years. He said there is not a big difference between working on a campus and in a city.

“I’ve worked in a municipality, I’ve done villages, I’ve done about everything but what I learned in the academy applies the same here,” Penrose said.

He said the main difference working for a campus police department is that it requires a lot more foot patrol and interaction with people. While working for the city he spent most of his time in his police car. He is much more busy working on campus than he was for his city job, which he enjoys.

“I like it to be busy. I try to stay busy,” Penrose said.

If he has a slow night he patrols the residence halls and watches traffic. He said that he likes to keep a balance between watching traffic and buildings on campus. His responsibilities include watching over Offenhauer and McDonald dormitories. He knows which rooms and hallways are problem areas and watches them closely. He said he likes to be an active presence in these areas.

Penrose would much rather be out keeping busy and watching over the campus than sitting around in the station. His co-workers say this is what makes him a valuable part of their team.

“He brings to the department the attitude to do it,” Patrolman Larry Bateson said.

Patrolman Charles Langford agreed.

“He enjoys his job very much, he likes getting out and kind of getting to know what is out there,” said Langford.

Penrose said that he came to the University because the police department was offering six full time positions. There is high competition in Ohio for full time patrol jobs. In Port Clinton he had a part time job, so he jumped on the chance to come to Bowing Green. He did not know what to expect before he came to the University and was a little skeptical about working with college students.

“I’ve enjoyed being a campus police officer,” Penrose said. “I didn’t know what to expect when I came here from Port Clinton because I didn’t know anyone that has worked as a university officer, so it was kind of hard to know what to expect.”

He said he was nervous about coming to a college campus to work, because of the unknown. However, he likes working at the University better than in a city because of the constant interaction he has with students.

He enjoys the different patroling options he has. Not only can he ride in his car, but he can walk or ride the bikes around campus. He said this was much different than Port Clinton. He also likes that he has options when punishing students. Most of the offenses he sees deal with alcohol. Unlike the city, he doesn’t have to arrest students when they violate underage alcohol laws.

“What I like here that I didn’t have in the city is that I have a lot of options, I can take action other than arrest,” he said.

When dealing with rooms with alcohol, he said he can ask them to dispose of it and then refer them to student discipline rather than arresting them. On the other hand, he has the option of sending them to jail or citing them. With citations, students are arrested but not sent to jail. He said that in the three years he has worked at the University, he has taken only four students to jail. In these situations the students he dealt with were disorderly and uncooperative.

“I remember one time a girl didn’t want to listen to me when we had an ambulance call and she ended up putting her hands on me,” said Penrose.

He sent her to jail.

Many students believes the police are just waiting for their chance to get students in trouble. Penrose explained that this isn’t the case at all.

“Most of our guys are pretty fair, and they aren’t rushing everyone out to jail,” he said.

Penrose stressed that the police department is there to watch out for students’ safety and keep the campus in order.

“It’s important to have people like him on our team to take care of our students,” Bateson said. “He wants to do a good job.”

Bateson agreed that campus police aren’t out to get students, but to guide them though their college career.

“GM sells cars and we make students, we make graduates,” he said.

That is Penrose’s goal, to make the campus a safe and secure environment that will produce graduates, and he takes an active role to achieve his goal.

He has gained experience in his six years as an officer, which aids in his work at the University. He is more comfortable with the job than when he first started and handles situations much differently than he did during his first traffic stop.

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