Student Community Services Officers have been supporting safety on our campus for over 40 years. They serve as security escorts, assist with campus patrols, provide additional security at campus events, assist with medical emergencies, and even provide fire watch services in instances where fire alarms from buildings are maintained or installed.
There are currently 50 CSOs serving the UC San Diego community, but the police department is always on the lookout for students willing to serve. To learn more about what it’s like to work as a CSO, we spoke to Dianna Lopez, a third-year psychology student who has been working as a CSO for almost a year.
Q. How did you get involved in the CSO program?
A. I had heard about the position from family and friends. I had also seen CSOs walking around campus and had taken advantage of the campus escort service.
Q. Why did this program interest you?
A. I’m interested in law enforcement, but I don’t know what kind of career I would like to pursue. I thought participating in the CSO program would help me gain some perspective, both talking to agents and seeing what they do.
Q. What types of activities do you support as a CSO?
A. I helped with campus emergencies by directing firefighters and medical aids to locations on campus. Directing traffic helps responders get to people in need and also supports officers who are on the scene.
Q. Is law enforcement related to what you study?
A. I would say yes. I’m a psychology student, so I think in general it’s about understanding and communicating with people. In addition, having a management position allows me to interact with a team.
But a wide variety of majors are represented in the CSO program.
Q. Could you tell me more about having a leadership role?
A. I have run CSO trainings and am the first person students meet when they enter the program. I am honored to introduce them to the program and hopefully make them more excited about the CSO position itself. We meet so many people with so many different backgrounds. Interacting with a diverse group of people allows me to learn and grow as a person. Everyone entering the program has different interests and a different life story, so it’s always nice to be exposed to this type of environment. I sharpened my listening skills and my understanding of others in the position.
Q. What surprised you in your role as CSO?
A. I am surprised by the connections I have made in the program. I signed up for a job on campus, but it was so nice to bond and build friendships with the people in the program and other people in the police department. It’s a welcoming environment – officers engage with us and show their appreciation for the tasks CSOs take on. Our work is recognized.
It’s also nice to have a great support system, not just as a hardworking student, but as a student in general. Each CSO is a student, so it’s nice to know that we can share our difficulties regarding the courses and the course of the term. The officers are interested in our studies and our well-being. They ask how we are or if we need anything.
Q. How did you benefit from the experience?
A. Learn to see the inner workings of the police department, be able to hear officers’ experiences, help in emergencies, and see how responses are handled. I love being able to be there and help.
Q. What should students know about CSOs or their work?
A. We really do our best to serve the community. It’s a fun position for students, and no experience is necessary. It is rewarding to follow the training. Talk to CSOs in service, ask them about it. I’m happy to talk to anyone about the program.
If you are a student interested in becoming a Community Service Officer, please apply on Handshake, ext # 5779526, or search for Community Service Officer. Students can also contact Lt. Scott Gustafson about the program.