The police cruiser radio station was set to “Wild 94.1, the Bay’s party station.” Officer Adam DeSantis sat in the driver’s seat preparing for the weekend’s wall.
“I like working Walls because I get to know the students; that’s important to me,” he said.
At the age of 25, Officer DeSantis is the youngest and newest addition to the New College of Florida Police Department. Hired just before the 2012-2013 school year began, DeSantis is coming up on the end of his first academic year spent on a college campus as a law enforcement officer.
The Catalyst spent a Saturday night on the job with Officer DeSantis to get a look into what life is like for a young officer at New College of Florida. Besides the general swoon of some young ladies and shouts of “hot cop!”, we found out a lot about this military veteran and how he feels about New College.
What did you do before you worked at New College?
“I joined the military when I was 17. I served for six years in the Army National Guard as Air Defense Artillery. As of January, I have been out for two years. I joined right after high school.”
How is being an officer at New College different from working in the military?
“In the military, people mostly police amongst themselves. If one person does something dumb, everyone suffers. It makes you hold one another accountable. New College does that a little bit, because it is a small group of people. But mostly they don’t. “
I see you’re listening to 94.1, that’s mostly hip-hop and rap. What else do you like?
“I like almost all kinds of music.”
What about the music they play at Walls?
“Some of that is good. Some of it is a little, well, different.”
You patrol around the parties in Palm Court a lot when you work on the weekends. Do you like talking to students?
“It’s important to know students, especially at a school this small. But it is also good to know boundaries. At a certain point, I am not your friend anymore. I have a job to do. I just treat everyone with respect, because that is how I want to be treated.”
How do you feel about Walls?
“Walls are a stress reliever for students. I know how it is being stressed like that; everyone needs an outlet. As long as people are being safe and respectful, I will respect them. “
How do you feel about Shell?
“I don’t like it. Next question.”
You talk a lot about respect. How do you feel when students disrespect you?
“I don’t hold personal grudges against people. I know that this badge is just a shield. When someone comes at me about something, I know it isn’t really about me personally. It’s about what I’m wearing.”
As an officer, what are your pet peeves?
“Lying and running. When you mess up, fess up and take responsibility. That is just part of being an adult. Also, that is just disrespectful. I was raised to respect all people – cops, authority, everyone. That’s been my whole life.”
Since you’re young, do you find it harder to discipline students?
“Absolutely not. My job is to make sure you all are safe and I take that seriously. I’m definitely not here to have you all leave with a record though. I’m just all about students being safe and being aware of their surroundings.”
How seriously do you take your job?
“I know everybody makes mistakes: you’re young. I’ve been there, I know. But this is my life – my means. This is what feeds me and this is what feeds my dog. As officers, we have to do our jobs.”
You never went to college. Is it different for you to be here with a bunch of college kids all the time?
“I like that I went to the military right after high school. I’m street smart, not book smart. That makes me a good cop, and I’m young so I like being around young people.”
Do you care about our school and our students?
“When it comes down to it, this badge means I would literally take a bullet for New College. I hope students realize that.”
Where do you see yourself in five years? Will you still be here?
“My goal is to be a K9 officer one day. Whether that is at NCF or not is really up to them.”
Seriously, your text ringtone is a police siren?
“I like my job…”
What is your favorite movie?
“Rocky,’ by far. The theme song is even my ring-back tone.”
Anything to say to New College students?
“I don’t think students think we see as much as we do. We aren’t stupid and you aren’t tricking us. We know things are going to happen. We just want you to be safe and aware.”