Captain of Special Services Eileen Bradley of Campus Safety Services has worked with Temple’s police forces since 1972 after her graduation from Temple. She was the first woman to patrol the streets of Philadelphia and has climbed the ranks of Campus Safety Services.
Bradley does much more than patrol the streets these days. She acts as a liaison between the local neighborhood communities and the resident student population living in the surrounding areas of Temple. Her responsibilities are important to keeping the peace in the neighborhoods and showing students and locals alike that they can get along and help each other out.
“I want to show people that we are much more than a police department,” Bradley said.
The Temple News: How did you start out as a police officer?
Eileen Bradley: My whole career has been through Temple. First, I graduated from Temple but I was also the first woman police officer to patrol the streets of Philadelphia, but it was through Temple University Campus police in 1972. I started out as a patrol officer – and there were female police officers in the Philadelphia Police Department, but none of them were on the streets patrolling. And [one other girl] and I were the first women in Philadelphia to patrol.
TTN: How did the men police officers handle the breakthrough of women patrol officers?
EB: It was very, very difficult in the beginning because it was something new and they were not used to having women on patrol. Most of the time [women] just worked in the juvenile division or inside in the office. So, at the time I was a little bit of a trailblazer and it was a little difficult at times, but there were plenty of people around to help me. It was kind of like a man’s world at the time, as far as the police force is concerned.
TTN: How did they treat you?
EB: Sometimes [they were disrespectful] when making an arrest, but sometimes I found it was a little easier, because I think people were taken aback… and even today, I think women can sometimes talk people into situations more when they don’t have to revert to using force for something. I believe in certain situations women can be more effective… not just because you’re a woman though.
TTN: How long were you a patrol officer and what have you been doing since then?
EB: I was a patrol officer for eight years and then I was promoted to sergeant. And at that point I was going to leave and go to the Philadelphia Police Department but I got promoted to sergeant and about a year later I was promoted to detective sergeant where I conducted investigations for a while. After that, I was a lieutenant for many years and then in 2005 I was promoted to Captain of special services. That includes special events, dealing with student government, dealing with all the student organizations and victims’ assistants. Anytime someone was a victim of a crime, I would contact them and make sure that they are OK, see if they need anything, see if they need help with their classes or their books… you know, if they missed class [because of what they went through] I would contact professors and let them know… myself and two or three other people take care of that. I take care of anything involving Temple student organizations, especially Temple Student Government.
TTN: Have your responsibilities changed in your position today?
EB: I still have two victims’ assistants, but basically I’ve leaned more into community relations. So I deal with all the neighbors, I’ve known them for years – so I deal with any community complaints and anything that’s happening in the community that affects the university. I’ve just launched the Adopt-A-Block program with Temple Student Government and other students. Over the years I’ve seen more and more students move into the neighborhood, so we’re getting the student organizations to adopt a block where we’ll place them to clean the block and meet the neighbors. It’s community service but it’s also based on the task force and the Good Neighbor Policy. They put a task force together to deal with neighborhood issues… because you know, sometimes college students and local neighbors don’t exactly have the same hours of operation.
TTN: What is your opinion on the influx of students moving into the neighborhood?
EB: I believe it’s a good thing, I believe the neighborhood is really revitalized with the stores and I believe that this program is just one [place to start] – there are many other things that can be done, too. I think it’s a good thing for the students and the neighborhood and the neighbors can see that it’s only a small percentage causing issues. Most of the students can bring vitality and revitalization to the neighborhood.
TTN: What other community projects are you working on?
EB: One of the big projects that I have coming up – which is really good for the university, students and neighbors too – is we have an annual neighborhood’s children’s party for 350 of the neighborhood children. I have numerous student organizations that are going to come out and help too. This is another good thing that the students do to give back to the neighborhood, and I do it through my department, but they all come out and volunteer. The Liacouras Center gives me the Center for free, we have entertainment – the basketball players come out, the cheerleaders and the Diamond Gems come and even a couple hip hop groups from [Boyer College of Music and Dance] come out. It’s really a cross thing, but it’s a really good thing for the neighbors… and it’s really for the neighborhood children. We usually have about 350 children come out and I’ll get about 100 student volunteers. For Thanksgiving, we’re going to give out turkeys to the needy families in the area. I am doing that also with Temple Student Government – we’re doing it as a joint project. I just try to say that the police department is not always a negative experience – we are much more than a police department. Our constituents are the students – and the neighbors – but mostly the students. My job is to see that the students are OK. And that’s why we’re here.
TTN: What would you say is your biggest challenge as liaison between the local community and the student population?
EB: The biggest challenge is trying to show the neighbors that it is, in fact, only a small percentage of students that cause problems. I try to act on it right away, if they have to go before the University Disciplinary Committee or if they have to go out and do community service. Most of the time, if I go to a house after hearing about an issue, I do not even have to go very far. Most of the students already know and they understand. But the biggest issue the neighbors complain about is the trash. I think it’s a matter of [educating students ]when trash day is, [and] what the rules are. I run a program at the beginning of the semester called Welcome Wagon. We go to four different quadrants around the campus and give out trash information, recycling cans… the neighbors will come out too, I’ll hand out smoke detectors and try to reeducate. Because I think they want to be responsible adults, but they just don’t know. We need to just educate them because we have students moving in all the time.
Nickee Plaksen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.