Campus Safety hired two new officers — Officer Samuel Hernandez and Officer Mariana Martinez — due to staffing shortages following the retirement of 30-year veteran Officer Greg Timmons.
Prior to the hiring of Hernandez and Martinez, only two Campus Safety officers would be on duty during any given shift, Clay said. If any crimes or medical issues arose, requiring the response of multiple officers, an on-duty staffing shortage would result. This shortage would force members of Campus Safety to work extra hours in order to cover the vacancies.
Before joining the Campus Safety team at Occidental, Hernandez worked part time at Macy’s and Target, but he ultimately decided that it would be advantageous to pursue a full-time job.
“The reason I got two jobs was to help out my family,” Hernandez said via email. “It tired me out jumping from one job to the other so I decided to find just one full-time job — that’s when I came across Occidental. I have never been an officer, but it was something that interested me. So far I have learned a lot, and I really enjoy what I do now.”
Although Hernandez may be a new officer, he has been employed by Occidental before and is familiar with the campus and the faculty. In recent years, Hernandez worked for Occidental as a part of Campus Dining and in the Facilities stockroom with his father. His mother previously worked in the Annual Giving office.
Martinez, on the other hand, worked in private security for the Los Angeles Police Department and for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, according to Clay. She was unavailable for comment.
New Campus Safety officers undergo a six-month training phase before becoming a full-duty officer, according to Clay. Trainees spend the first three months with a training officer and the next three on probation with a peer mentor. Members of the department also attend additional trainings periodically on topics including Title IX, active shooter situations and interviews and interrogations, depending on available funding and time, Clay said. Clay also requires all Campus Safety staff to read one book per semester on leadership, team building or self-empowerment.
Hernandez is still in training but hopes to help the Occidental community in any way possible.
“I just want to be able to bring safety to the students, faculty and the community,” Hernandez said via email. “I want people to understand that we are here to help, whether it’s escorts, unlocking doors or even just showing concern and care.”
There are 14 Campus Safety uniformed personnel — one chief, one administrative sergeant, three patrol sergeants, three corporals and six officers — and one Clery Administrator. Hernandez is joining the team as an officer.
Over the course of his tenure at the college, one of Hernandez’s goals is to strengthen the image of Campus Safety.
“I have always been a nice person, and I know there is a certain way people perceive Campus Safety, but I just want to say we are here to put minds at ease and keep the community safe,” Hernandez said via email.