The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC police officers working to keep each campus safe

By Jonathan Resendez/south news editor

A student parks in a faculty parking space and receives a ticket.

The student proceeds to shred the ticket, speeding off campus going twice the posted speed limit thinking, “This isn’t a real ticket and won’t affect me because they aren’t real cops.”

The student’s disregard for the citation could prove costly, and the belief about the police officer that wrote it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Every officer working at TCC holds a state peace officer license and possesses the same authority as a municipal police officer, said Cpl. Chanissa Dietrich.

Having worked in law enforcement for 10 years, Dietrich started her career with the Dallas Police Department before coming to TCC after a brief stint as a parole officer. Some officers get a feel for law enforcement at TCC before moving on while others arrive with experience from other municipal agencies, she said.

Having served in law enforcement for more than 25 years, Lt. Lennie Oringderff still remembers the rigors of the police academy. Although some subjects like handgun and driving training are fun, roughly 70 percent of the instruction is academic, she said.

“Twenty-five years ago, all I could do was live and breathe my academy textbooks,” Oringderff said.

Prospective police officers cannot fail more than two exams while at the academy, making becoming a police officer harder than joining the military, she said. Prospects are required to have knowledge in penal, family and traffic codes.

Upon successful completion of the academy and state exam, officers are qualified to work as peace officers anywhere in the state. Why, then, do some choose TCC over local law enforcement agencies?

TCC allowed Dietrich the opportunity to work, attend classes and study while she finished her basics. She eventually transferred to the University of Texas at Arlington, where she received her bachelor’s in criminal justice, all the while still working for TCC.

“This is a very police officer-friendly environment, as opposed to maybe in the city where people don’t really like their police officers,” she said. “They throw stuff at you and maybe they spit on you. But that doesn’t happen here.”

Oringderff also said officers employed by TCC have to adhere to stricter moral and ethical standards. An instructor can get a DWI and come back and teach, she said, but officers would lose their jobs and licenses.

Along with officers’ credentials, many students do not realize what officers sometimes must deal with on campus. South Campus student Thomas Jones said he thinks campus police officers sit around and drive golf carts, like security guards.

“Since it’s college, there aren’t any problems, and they probably don’t do much,” he said.

Sgt. Anthony Woolum, a police officer of 15 years after spending 21 years in the Army, would beg to differ.

Woolum began working for TCC on the NW Campus in 1994. He has experienced and heard stories from colleagues about everything from receiving gunfire to helping women who escaped from their overly kinky lovers.

One Christmas Eve around 1 or 2 a.m. while on duty, Woolum heard five to seven gunshots fired on NW Campus. Fort Worth police responded, leaving after a scan of the area turned up no results. The vehicle eventually returned and fired shots directly at Woolum’s car. Although he wasn’t sure that he was within range, he could see the muzzle blast, he said. Fort Worth police eventually caught the vehicle and, with guns drawn, removed the culprits.

Another time, Woolum said, an officer on the graveyard shift on NW Campus saw a woman emerge from the lake wearing nothing but a pair of handcuffs. Apparently, things had gotten too intense between the woman and her partner, so she fled by swimming across the lake, he said.

Although Woolum knows a handful of odd tales about working at TCC, he said a police officer’s duties consist mostly of keeping students, faculty and staff safe.

“It’s a matter of diminishing crime,” he said.

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