The University of Rhode Island’s Community Resource Officers use their skills and their ages to help them handle situations on campus.
Michael McCabe and Nicholas DeTroia are two officers for the University of Rhode Island’s Police Department. They are Community Resource Officers that work out of the substation of Barlow. McCabe and DeTroia typically work 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and they are the ones who respond to almost all of the calls in the resident halls.
“It’s a lot of [being] out there talking with the community,” McCabe said. “Going on the foot patrol, going on the bikes, taking yourself out of the cruiser and interacting with the community. As far as day-to-day it can vary.”
McCabe also said that it all depends on what is happening around campus that affects how busy the two will be on any given night. He said that he likes when different events are going on because it keeps them busy.
McCabe and DeTroia are both younger officers and are aware that students at URI are close to their age. They use this to their advantage when they go out on calls, reminding students that they are not that much older than them and that they have also been where the students currently are.
“I’ve been here,” McCabe said. “I got my bachelors degree, I went away to school, I lived on campus, I know what it’s like.”
“I still sometimes think the same way they do, but I honestly think that most of them, if they have a negative effect with me, it’s not because of me personally, it’s because of the uniform,” DeTroia added. “Sometimes they don’t like the protocols that we have, but we are people too. We have the same thoughts as everybody else. It’s not that we’re here to drill home everybody and get them all in trouble, we’re here to help as much as we can.”
Both officers knew from a younger age that they wanted to go into law enforcement. McCabe took law enforcement classes in high school and received a bachelor’s degree in it. He started his law enforcement career at URI and has worked at the university for the past four years. DeTroia also knew that he wanted to go into this profession since high school. He obtained his associate’s degree at the Community College of Rhode Island and is now working on a bachelor’s degree at URI while he works for the department. Both officers agreed that part of the reason they wanted to work in law enforcement was because they wanted to be active.
“I can’t sit at a desk,” McCabe said. “It was going to be emergency response one way or another, whether it was EMT, firefighter or police.”
“I’m the same way,” DeTroia agreed. “The best part about this job is that every day is different. You can come in and say that yesterday will not be the same as today.”
McCabe and DeTroia also said that they eventually want to move up in rank at the department, although McCabe said this is a “stereotypical response.”
The officers are also involved with community oriented work, including the Special Olympics and the Polar Plunge, which will take place this Sunday at Salty Brine Beach.
“Not everything’s about arresting and foot chases and stuff like that,” McCabe said. “There’s a lot of good that comes out of this.”
“The TV show is deceiving sometimes,” DeTroia said. “We enjoy it. We don’t like to hammer home to everybody. We like to have smiles and some fun. It’s all about that at the end of the day.”