College Cop: On the beat with the SMCPD

Before the sun rises, the day begins for Santa Monica College Police Officer Sean Gordon, who arrives at 5:30 in the morning. Officer Gordon, a former LAPD officer, has been with the SMCPD force for a year and takes pride in working with the SMC community. More than just an enforcer, Gordon follows the SMCPD policy of ‘Educational Policing’ - educating students on their rights when they are caught on an infraction.

“We're not trying to arrest anybody that we come in contact with”, says Gordon, “Universities and colleges, we try to engage and educate. These are young adults and they may not know what they're doing is illegal, or they may not know the ramifications of their behavior so we'll try to educate them. Charging them is always the last case because once you're in the system, it sucks.”

After the morning briefing Officer Gordon patrols SMC and the outlying areas in both his squad car and by walking a beat around campus, in part to increase the presence of the law in students’ minds. The day is busy as it is long – opening doors for teachers locked out of classes, assisting Santa Monica PD on calls, issuing tickets to students illegally parked in handicapped spaces – Gordon is constantly on the move during his 10 hour shift and hardly takes a break.

It’s not the hours but a heavy sense of responsibility that weighs on Gordon, especially after the many recent incidents of police malfeasance in the news. “It’s a trying time for law enforcement right now,” says Gordon ,”throughout the country we’re making hundreds of thousands of stops per day and if one goes wrong, the media loves it. Stories of Officers that do their job, that’s boring.”

For Officer Gordon, “boring” isn’t bad, but a job well done.