He’s not as mean as Dirty Harry but not as soft as Barney Fife, but UVU’s own Chief of Police John C. Brewer is the man in charge here on campus. From theft to risk management, he means business.
Chief Brewer has been at UVU for a little over two years, but has been a police officer since 1973. He began his career in Mesa, Ariz. and then moved to Gilbert, Ariz., finally settling here in Orem.
Below are excerpts from an interview conducted with Chief Brewer about his experience as a cop, and more importantly his experience on campus.
Q. What brought you to UVU?
A. It sounded like a challenge. It’s an area in law enforcement that I’d never worked in before. Everything that happens in Mesa, happens in Orem — it’s just a matter of scale.
Q. What crime do you deal with most at UVU?
A. The biggest problem we have on campus is theft, and it’s not all that big. One thing I’d encourage students or anyone else to do is just to keep an eye on their own belongings. I see a lot of students sleeping on the couches or sleeping in the chairs and they’ll have their backpack with them on the ground where it’s an easy target for theft. Or they’ll leave their backpacks unattended in the bathroom and someone can walk off with it rather easily, which does happen a bit. So the best thing to do is to just keep an eye on your stuff.
Q. Who issues speeding tickets, Orem cops or you guys?
A. Both. Campus police are mainly responsible for that, but Orem officers can come on our campus and issue traffic citations — and they do from time to time — but that’s not a part of their routine procedures.
Q. What are your biggest pet peeves here on campus?
A. People parking in red zones or people parking in spots that they’re not supposed to. We have a lot more students on campus this year than ever before, and for the first time that I can remember, the parking lots were full on the first day of school, so there was a lot of congestion around campus. People get impatient and they cut each other off, so we’ve had a few minor collisions. So, basic impatience between people is a little pet peeve of mine.
Q. What can students do to make your job easier?
A. There have been some significant shootings on campuses around the country. Hopefully it will never come out here and there’s no reason to believe that it will; BUT in all these shooting situations, it seems like someone knew what the shooter was going to do before they did it and they discounted it or they didn’t want to report it. If someone is talking about harming others, shooting up the campus, applying deadly threat or whatever, people need to let us know about that. Don’t discount what a friend says as blowing off steam because all of the people who have followed through on threats told someone first. So if you have a concern, let us know. If there’s nothing to it, we’ll find that out. If there’s something more serious, we’ll find that out too.