Alum Becomes New Police Chief

Andrea Bastedo is a 1995 alumna of OCC and the College’s new Director of Campus Safety & Security. She is pictured in the Service & Maintenance Building where campus law enforcement is headquartered.

Andrea Bastedo looks out at the OCC campus from her new office and almost can’t believe what she sees. Everything looks so much different than it did when she came here as a student 27 years ago. “It’s surreal. I remember when all of my classes were in Academic I (now Mawhinney Hall) and the gym was the only building on the other side of campus. It’s good to be back.”

Bastedo is the new Director of Campus Safety & Security. Her first day on the job was April 15. “Student safety is paramount. We want everyone on campus to have a good quality of life, to be comfortable, to be happy and to be doing what they have to be doing.”

Bastedo is a lifelong resident of Central New York. She graduated from Henninger High School in 1992 and received a Criminal Justice degree from OCC in 1995. She also earned a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice from Columbia College, a master’s in Public Administration from Marist College and a doctorate in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University.

Since completing work toward her degree at OCC she has had simultaneous military and law enforcement careers. In July of 1995 she joined the New York Air National Guard. Twenty years later she became a Lieutenant Colonel in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. Bastedo also served as an Onondaga County Sheriff’s Deputy from 1997 until her retirement in 2018. Last year she joined the Marcellus Police Department and worked as a School Resource Officer in the Lyncourt Union Free School District.

As the new Director of OCC’s Campus Safety & Security she wants the entire campus community to know she and her department are here to serve and need everyone to be part of the process. “If you see something, say something. Call us, tells us, email us. There’s an open door here for everyone.”

Bastedo replaces Dave Wall who retired after 3-and-a-half years in the position. Prior to coming to OCC he was a highly-decorated leader in the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department.

Building Relationships with Law Enforcement

Students interested in a career in law enforcement attended the Criminal Justice Club’s annual student recruitment event in the parking lot outside Mawhinney Hall Wednesday, September 16. This year’s event focused on reducing the barriers between the public and the police.

Officers from the Syracuse Police and Onondaga County Sheriff’s departments gave students the opportunity to see their equipment first-hand and get to know them as people. Students were able to try on SWAT Team gear, hold weapons and see the inside of police vehicles. Students also spoke with officers about their jobs and career options. Criminal Justice Club members wore t-shirts with the words, “The public are the police and the police are the public.”

“It was important to have interactive events,” said Criminal Justice Professor Pete Patnode. “We’ve asked each of our students to come away with the names and contact information of two law enforcement representatives they met here. We want to stimulate conversation in the classroom we can build off of.”

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Jonathan Rovtar-Ruiz

Jonathan Rovtar-Ruiz always knew he wanted a career which focused on helping people. His challenge was finding the right career.

Rovtar-Ruiz came to OCC from Jamesville-Dewitt High School and enrolled in the College’s Nursing program but realized it wasn’t right for him. He struck up a conversation with Assistant Professor Peter Patnode in the Criminal Justice department and suddenly everything became clear. “I realized Criminal Justice was what I wanted to pursue. He drove everything home and taught me anything is possible if you try hard enough.

Rovtar-Ruiz did an internship with the Syracuse Police Department and loved it. As the President of the Criminal Justice Club he helped organize an event during the fall 2014 semester which brought emergency response vehicles from both the Syracuse Police Department and the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department up to campus. The event gave students the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the equipment police use and speak with law enforcement officers about career options. “For me it was a reminder I am pursuing the right career.”

Rovtar-Ruiz will graduate in May 2015. His goal is to work for either the Syracuse Police Department or the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department.

Criminal Justice Club’s Hands-on Learning

Students in OCC’s newly-formed Criminal Justice Club got a first-hand look at the career they’re considering when local law enforcement agencies brought their hardware to campus. The Syracuse Police Department contributed a cruiser and its Crisis Response Team truck, while the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department brought up a SWAT vehicle, a Bomb Squad truck and a cruiser for students to examine inside and out. Both agencies also had officers on hand for students to discuss career options with.

 

Students in Onondaga's Criminal Justice Club see how to operate a robot that is part of the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department's Bomb Squad.
Students see how to operate a robot that is part of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department’s Bomb Squad.

“This was a great experience for our students,” said Assistant Professor Peter Patnode. “We wanted to enhance the student’s overall experience. We learn a lot in class but this takes it to the next level. It allows students to get a first-hand look at the equipment. By speaking with police officers they realize they are people just like them.”

Jonathan Rovtar-Ruiz (Jamesville-Dewitt), a sophomore and President of the Criminal Justice Club, got a lot out of the event. “Today is a reminder for me that I am pursuing the right career. The opportunity to meet members of law enforcement up close and see what they work with is priceless.”

Sgt. John Stephens of the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department speaks with students about the proper way to use firearms.
Sgt. John Stephens of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department speaks with students about the proper way to use firearms.