By Haley Hadge
Tuesday, May 3, 8:58 a.m.
Rain hangs heavy in the sky above the Framingham State University Police Department (FSUPD).
With a high of 50 and humidity index of 88%, the layers of a uniform begin to feel adherent to the skin - bulletproof vest and all.
Beads of water ripple down a badge that reads, “Sgt. Robert Cormier.”
As he walks through the office, Cormier passes eight screens showing at least five different views of campus at a time.
He said there are approximately 180 total FSUPD cameras located on campus.
Cormier agreed to have a student reporter ride along with him to see first-hand what the police do on campus.
Cormier shares similar values to Chief John Santoro - “We’re not here to hurt anybody. We’re here to keep everybody safe,” Santoro said.
Cormier popped the trunk of Cruiser 10 and counted off his supplies: The Automated External Defibrillator (AED), Med Kit, Narcan, and other emergency medical supplies were loaded.
With the click of a key and an adjustment of his badge, the engine of his cruiser revs, and his patrol hour begins.
Right, right, right, left - “We’re all about providing a service … to make sure everyone gets an education free from harassment,” Cormier said.
He added the best practices the FSUPD must follow are “guided” by the Massachusetts Accreditation Committee. So, policies differ from state to state.
He said the FSUPD has a “tendency to deal with a lot of parking issues,” but their main priority is “community caretaking.”
Cormier circles through the parking lot on Union Avenue - “All is quiet on the home front here,” he said.
He added in years past, this lot has been the source of numerous auto burglaries, though recently it has calmed.
He said the roadways surrounding Union are part of FSU’s jurisdiction, but it is not clean cut.
There is a balancing act at play between the FSUPD and the Framingham Police Department (FPD), he said.
“Framingham is a busy city and occasionally their business bleeds over into us,” he said.
As he cruised past 860 Worcester Road, he said he is “constantly scanning” his surroundings.
Cormier said when he was in the Academy, he was taught there are multiple levels of alertness.
He said, “You can’t always be at level four!” - Fatigue would be imminent.
Chatter from the FPD enters Cruiser 10 - “We don’t have a lot of issues, but every now and then something just happens to show up,” he said.
In the barren back lot of the Danforth Art Museum, he pointed out three cameras - two flanking the side entrances and one hanging in the center of the back entrance.
“There are cameras everywhere,” he said.
He passed the greenery in front of The Danforth and said, “This job consumes a lot of your life.
“You need to be a good person. … You need to live an unsullied life,” he said.
He added there has been more awareness on the mental health of police officers.
As he headed back toward the main campus, he said he would ideally like to have civil conversations with those he detains. “I have no joy having to take people’s liberty away.
“Is anybody perfect? No. But we’re providing services for people more than anything.”
Cormier parked the cruiser in front of O’Conner Hall, rolled down his window, and said the FSUPD often serves as a “presence” for safety.
He said sometimes simply being there can be a deterrent.
He said some people appreciate it, and others don’t.
Cormier pulled out of his spot in front of O’Conner to face McCarthy.
There was a school bus full of elementary-aged kids, and the driver looked lost.
So, Cormier cranked the emergency brake and jogged over to the right side of the bus as the sun began to peek through the overcast morning.
Cormier made his way back to Cruiser 10 and the bus driver pulled forward on South University Avenue and looped around past CASA.
Cormier’s cruiser led the driver to the McAuliffe Center and received a “honk” as a token of gratitude.
He said, “Something as simple as that is the essence of what we do. … Connecting people with services.”
As the cruiser slowed to a stop, Cormier said, “Your mind is the most powerful weapon you can use in this field - much more powerful than any weapon on your belt.”
With a click of his key, Cruiser 10 unlocked. And Cormier turned to say, “If you see me around campus, yell out, ‘Hey Bubs, what’s up!’”