We see them riding bikes around campus dressed in uniforms, directing traffic and issuing parking violation tickets. A glance or stern
stare is about the only interaction most students have with these parking enforcement officers patrolling our college.
While walking by a vehicle displaying a ticket on the windshield, some students may mumble cusswords under their breaths and think to themselves, “I wish he would get a life.” These are indeed harsh words for a man like Officer Nick Martin who is just trying to make a living like everyone else.
Currently attending Sacramento State University working toward a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in business, Martin hardly had enough time to be interviewed. At only 21, the officer displayed the focus and tenacity of wise men twice his age.
For as long as Martin can remember, he said he knew he wanted to become a police officer, to protect and serve his community. He knew that law enforcement was the profession for him, Martin passionately and firmly stated, “since the day I was born.”
There is no doubt that police officers put their lives on the line on a daily basis, and officers like Martin should be admired for their bravery.
After talking to Martin, I humbly rethought my negative perception of parking enforcement officers. Though I had just received a ticket on that very day, I realized that my actions caused me to be cited, and it was time to accept responsibility for that. I knew I was parked in a 30-minute zone as I was about to go to an hour-and-a-half class.
Very quickly it became obvious that the dislike some students have for parking violation officers is unwarranted. After all, it is not the officers’ fault if students violate the parking rules; rather it is the officers’ job to enforce those rules.
Martin told me that he applied for his position because of his motivation to become a cop. He feels like the experience he gets at City College will help him with his career goal of becoming a police officer.
When asked how he deals with rude and irate students, Martin stated, “I don’t take it personal. It’s just my job.”
When issuing a parking ticket, Martin said he takes it upon himself to educate students, about ways to prevent receiving them in the future. A stern stare doesn’t always equal a cold heart.
Following the “Golden Rule” is very simple: Treat others the way you want to be treated. It is clear that parking enforcement officers are not getting the respect they deserve around campus.
Officers like Nick Martin are human beings like you and me. The next time you pass an officer driving around campus, or see one helping control traffic, remember to have a heart and smile at those who protect and serve.