Monday, November 7 seemed like a routine night for members of OCC’s Student Patrol. Robert Moore, Garrett Sikora and Zachary Smith were going door-to-door across campus, checking buildings and locking doors. Shortly before 10 p.m. they stepped inside the Gordon Student Center and smelled trouble in the air. “I walked in and realized, ‘It doesn’t smell like normal in here,’” said Moore. “We called in to base and let them know we smelled a strong scent of gas,” said Smith.
A short time later Ron Lewandowski who works in Maintenance at OCC showed up with a gas detection unit. “The cafeteria was filled with gas,” said Moore. “On the meter the levels were off the charts.” It was a dangerous situation which could have been far worse without the actions of Student Patrol. “Gas levels the next morning would have been lethal,” said Sikora. “It would have only taken a small spark for something bad to happen.”
The fast work of Moore, Sikora and Smith was recognized at November’s OCC Board of Trustees meeting. “They literally saved a building and potentially lives,” said Dave Wall, Director of Campus Safety and Security. “You could imagine what might have happened had this situation gone undetected for another eight hours.”
Moore, Sikora and Smith are three of the 15 members of OCC’s Student Patrol. They perform valuable services across campus on a daily basis. “They are our eyes and ears similar to a neighborhood watch,” said Wall. “They are in the residence halls, they are checking buildings. In a community policing approach they are very much a part of the team.”
Being a member of Student Patrol can provide a path for those interested in a career in criminal justice. Moore, Sikora and Smith are all on track to earn their degrees in May 2017. Sikora (Liverpool High School, class of 2015) is a Humanities major still considering options but both Moore and Smith are interested in a career in law enforcement. Moore (Lafayette High School, class of 2013) is a dual major in both Criminal Justice and Mathematics & Science. His goal is to become a forensic technician. Smith’s inspiration for a career in law enforcement came from his uncle who is a member of the New York City Police Department. Smith will take civil service exams in the spring for future police openings.
“We are so fortunate to have outstanding students here who make up our Student Patrol,” said Wall. “It’s a great way for us to connect with students and the entire campus community. I appreciate their dedication.”