For the last 14 years, the pro-active Temple Campus Police Department has been home to Sgt. Jeff Chapman. You may not know him by name, but this recognizable face either on bike patrol, in the classroom, community or on the sidelines is heavily involved with the university.
Chapman grew up in Philadelphia as one of five children. After time in the military, he found himself employed as a security officer. From there, the next step was to the Philadelphia Police Academy for 19 weeks of training. Since joining the Temple Police Department, the soft-spoken Chapman has followed through on his two goals: to interact with the university and community, and disperse that “most of what you hear about North Philadelphia is myth.”
Sticking with this goal he worked with the R.W. Brown Community Center (Eighth and Montgomery streets) to help develop a partnership with the community. He works hard on being the right kind of role model for youths.
“Young kids today have role models,” Chapman said, “but they’re not the right role models.”
He is also involved with the Temple football program. He said, “[Coach] Wallace came to us in 1997 because of a lack of involvement with campus police on the football team. As a result I was chosen to work with the team.”.
Chapman assumes the heavy responsibility of keeping one 105 players organized into one cohesive family. “I’m there in a backup type role,” he said. “Being there makes players think twice before crossing the line.”
He emphasizes to the team the need for better communication. Pointing to the stabbing of former running back Elmarko Jackson, in February of the Spring 2000 semester, Chapman said, “If somebody had used our tip-line, we could have intervened. This was embarrassing to me, because it was football related, it wasn’t isolated and information was known or withheld. The person knew who they wanted and had a personal vendetta.”
After three years with the football program, Chapman has found himself branching out to all university programs.
Remember summer orientation? Chapman is one of the officers who help entering freshman each summer by filling them in with the necessary street smarts for living in Philadelphia, as well as general crime prevention in the dorms and on campus.
Students are advised by him to pick up their belongings to avoid the opportunity of theft, watch out for their property, and lock their doors at all times. Cautioning students Chapman said, “It only takes 15 seconds to walk in to a room and open three drawers, take something and be gone.”
The softhearted Chapman met his wife JoAnn on campus and has been married for six years. They have no children, but hope to have two or three in the near future.
“I met my wife at the time when my mother had just passed and was a little short with her when she asked a question,” Chapman said. “I saw her on campus later and things worked themselves out. Now we’re married.”
Ever energetic, Chapman has not let age stop him. He is only 40 and hopes to obtain his degree in education. He has been taking classes off and on at Temple but never full-time. His wife teaches first grade in the Philadelphia school district and is also a sign language interpreter for the deaf. She will receive her masters degree in Education this month.
“I’m a people person and I enjoy interacting with others,” said Chapman. “My wife thinks that I’m Mr. Mayor. Everywhere I go I see somebody I know.”
As supervisor, Sgt. Chapman has a lot more options. For the last two years he has been on the campus bike patrol. “I enjoy it and the kids love it,” said Chapman. Minus the spills on wet leaves and other falls, his bike experience has been great. “It’s great for visibility,” said Chapman, “and is a faster mode of getting to the scene.”
From handling panhandlers and protesters, to dealing with dead batteries and theft, to giving directions and directing traffic, days are always eventful for Chapman. “I really enjoy coming to work,” He said. “With the variety of activity, no day is identical to the other.”