Fighting Stigma with Sirens


There is a stigma around campus that every freshman encounter on day one: LoPo is not your friend. I am not sure where it comes from, or how it came to be implanted on those of us with the least experience on campus, yet it exists. There is something scary about the idea that one wrong move can have your records tarnished for some of the biggest clubs on campus (Evergreen, RA, SLC). It’s frightening when it comes up that an hour in the parking lot out front could lead to a fine. This stigma exists, and it’s ever present in the minds of every freshman I have met.

It is strange that these were my perceptions only a few months ago, and I am happy to say that since then my perceptions have changed.  I wish I could open this knowledge to the eyes of all of campus that still shutters and jokes at the expense of Campus Security. This community of hard working men and women are here for our benefit, not our annoyance.

I have been in their vans too many times to count, going back and forth from Campion to Butler and Flannery with scared friends. I have watched people stop and catch up with officers parked by Hopkins. I could hear thank-you’s float through the wind. I have heard stories of officers saving lives. In Danielle Spano’s case, Loyola Police helped her when no one else could.

“I wasn’t feeling well, so I called the health center and they told me I couldn’t come in because they were closing at five o’clock, which didn’t really make sense because I woke up from a nap and I had a 102 fever. They told me they would send an officer to go take me to urgent care. So, Officer Higgins comes, and she [took] me there,” Danielle Spano, ’21.

Officer Higgins is a well-known officer around campus for her attention to students. According to Spano, she isn’t the first student whom Officer Higgins has helped, and she most certainly won’t be the last. “She was really nice and asked me the whole ride what was wrong. She was being really helpful.”

When the two made it to Urgent Care, Officer Higgins told Danielle that she would wait in the parking lot while Spano went to get an appointment. Spano went inside to find that the Urgent Care had a three hour wait, and with every passing minute, Danielle was feeling worse. Officer Higgins was not about to let Danielle wait 3 hours for an appointment all by herself, especially not when Danielle was only getting worse.

Officer Higgins then took Spano to the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and offered to stay in touch with her mom. “She called my mom and kept telling her how I was doing,” Spano said. “She was texting her through the whole thing.” Officer Higgins waited with Spano at the hospital until her track coach was able to come and take care of her. “Even though Danielle was now safe at the hospital, Officer Higgins continued to update Danielle’s family throughout the night. “She gave me her phone number,” says Spano. “She said, ‘if you need a ride home, let me know. If you ever need help let me know.’”

Spano was able to get better with the hospital and Officer Higgins’ help. “She didn’t have to go out of her way to bring me to the hospital. It really shows what kind of person she is, and what kind of people work at Loyola’s Campus Police.”

“I always thought of them as the people that just sit in the parking lot, make sure nobody is acting stupid, and give out parking tickets, but she definitely proved to me that they are more than that. The campus police are here not only for our safety, but also our well-being,” Spano said. “They aren’t here to bust our chops. Their job is to protect us.”

Campus police is here on campus for a reason. They want to keep us as safe as possible, and to help us in any way they can. People shouldn’t be afraid of what they do, because in the end it is always for us. Stigma or not, Loyola is an extremely safe campus due to the hard work of these men and women. Is it the blue light towers that make you feel safe, or the people who you know will come to your aid?