Southern’s Unsung Hero: Sergio Nunez
Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter
Walking over the Southern Bridge, students smile and wave at Officer Sergio Nunez, of the Southern Police Department. Nunez said that to him, those small connections make all the difference because if students are recognizing him then that means he is doing his job.
“I get out in the community a lot. You want to be seen, you want them to know that the police are around,” said Nunez. “If students are like, ‘hey, Officer Nunez, how you doing?’ That means I am doing well.”
Nunez said whether it is a safety concern or a bad day, students should know, he would like to help.
“I will see students and I will be like, ‘hey, how you are you doing, how is your day going,’ and they are like, ‘you know, this class is driving me crazy.’ I am like, ‘well maybe you should try to get some tutoring, go here, go there, do not give up, you got this far,’ and I try to set them on the right path. Try to get them the right help that they need.”
Nunez has been with Southern Police Force for about nine years and has over 20 years’ experience with campus security and police overall. At Southern, Nunez is on the bike patrol unit, involved with programs such as the Special Olympics, Jail ‘N’ Bail, he is a Rape Aggression Defense instructor, and was appointed coordinator of the LERN Program last year by Chief Joseph Dooley.
Nunez said the Police Department offers a lot of programs most students are unaware of and could be utilizing.
“We do all kinds of things here; we are not just to Police Department. We will talk about safety, drinking and driving, alcohol awareness, drug awareness, about knowing your surroundings, we do escort services for students if they ever need to walk somewhere,” said Nunez. “We always tell people, ‘do not be scared to call the police department, we will give you an escort to your car or to wherever you want to go.’”
Nunez said students often feel intimidated by the presence of campus officers, when it should be just the opposite.
“I do not want them to think of a police officer, that we just go to calls and that is it, you are in trouble and you are getting arrested,” said Nunez. “I want them to come to us and feel comfortable, I want them to come to us and if you have a problem then we will try to figure it out for you.”
Nunez said as someone who has been watching over college campuses for a long time, he knows he is truly enjoying his work when he is connecting with students.
“I have been doing this for a while, and if I could help a student out in any way, then I enjoy doing it,” said Nunez. “If a student comes back to me and says, ‘you know the other day when you talked to me, it worked out,’ then I just enjoy doing what I do. To see somebody graduate when I knew they were in trouble and they got their life together, that to me means a lot. Just knowing that they are going to move on with life.”
Photo Credit: Melissa Nunez – General Assignment Reporter