Photo via MTSUPD
The community interviewed Terence Calloway at 11 a.m. on Thursday within the Sam H. Ingram Building on Middle Tennesse State University campus.
Calloway, who currently works for Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University as chief of police, has been in law enforcement for 25 years.
At one point in those 25 years, Calloway visited MTSU for training and “absolutely positively fell in love with this campus,” and he’s excited at the prospect of being university chief of police.
“I haven’t heard any negativity at all about the MTSU police department. So to be able to come in, share my vision, listen to their ideas and share their vision to make this police department definitely…the best in the state- With some of the young men and women that I saw and spoke to earlier, I am…convinced that can happen,” Calloway said.
Calloway thoroughly enjoys being a campus police officer. What he appreciates most, however, is “to be able to see a student come in and matriculate through the system and then blossom into this beautiful graduate who is doing some positive things in the world. To know that you had some input in that if not directly, indirectly, just by keeping them safe.”
Calloway cherishes conversations with students, discussing what’s going on in their lives and their different accomplishments. “That means a lot,” he stated.
“Students respect you when you talk to them. It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it,” Calloway spoke.
When asked about how he plans to develop a police department that listens to the needs and values of the MTSU campus community, Calloway answered, “You challenge every person in that police department. How would you want someone to treat you? That becomes the biggest challenge.”
He continued to convey that people deserve to be respected. “You have some education and training on both parts to know what you can and cannot do, what’s tolerated and what’s not tolerated. It makes for a whole different ballgame,” he said.
However, when it comes to students, respect doesn’t always go both ways.
“When they’re at a party or whatever the case might be, students don’t know the difference between municipality police and campus police. So they put it all together,” he said. So, in other words, a cop is a cop to most.
Regarding recent civil unrest due to various incidents, student’s positive views of police officers have dwindled. That’s no secret to Calloway.
“People already have ideas on what the police are based on what they see in the media, based on something that’s directly happened, or indirectly. We’ve all done that. We’ve all created this preconceived notion of a person without getting to know them,” Calloway stated.
Due to these notions, Calloway hopes to repair the relationship between police and young people at MTSU in different ways.
At previous departments, Calloway has had officers go into student housing to speak to students. He said, “We can ask the students what is it that we can do to help you and vice versa.”
One could assume that Calloway cares for students, so when asked about his top priorities, he answered, “Safety is very important…Making sure that the police department is a well-trained organization.”
He continued, “When I talk about training, I’m talking about sexual assault training…Right now, we’re dealing with so much with civil unrest. Are our officers trained in that? Do we have knowledge of what’s taking place? Culture diversity, all of those become very important.”
Alluding to bias, assault, and crime in general, Calloway had a few things to say.
“People don’t want to report something a lot of the time for fear of being embarrassed or what may happen. But also, students don’t know they’ve been victims…students don’t know they’re victims of a crime until somebody tells them,” Calloway stated.
While on the topic of crime, Calloway was asked about a lawsuit in which he was involved.
Several years ago, Calloway had switched eight-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts at Florida A&M Police Department. An officer there, Stanley Snead, began to suffer from high blood pressure and was informed by his doctor that it was due to the longer shifts.
“He brings in a letter from the doctor that says he can only work Monday through Friday, no weekends, no holidays, from seven to three. That’s not feasible in a police department or for a patrol officer. So my response to him was, ‘If I allow you to do this, then everybody is going to want to do the same thing,'” Calloway said.
During this incident, Calloway allegedly asked Snead to accompany him into the parking lot and asked, “Why are you still working anyway?” Calloway dismissed this claim.
Continuing, he stated, “His grief wasn’t with me; it was with [Americans with Disabilities Act]. I was his supervisor. So they said, ‘Oh, you discriminated against a man because you wouldn’t allow him to work from seven to three.’ So in court, I said this, ‘What if we get a shooting at 2:45? Do I let him go home?,’…’ If he stays after three and he has a heart attack, who’s responsible for that?’ So that’s how that went.”
Afterward, Calloway sarcastically remarked that the supposed pack or two of cigarettes Officer Snead would smoke a day had nothing to do with this high blood pressure.
In the end, the jury found Florida A&W Police Department in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
To contact News Editor Toriana Williams, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News