The concept of care is a guiding principle for U of R Public Safety Officer Patrica Tafoya-Bryson.
When she patrols the University of Redlands main campus by car and ensuring that its inhabitants feel safe and secure, Tafoya-Bryson views the students she interacts with as an extension of her own family.
Initially trained to be a teacher, Tafoya-Bryson joined the San Bernardino Community College police department after being recruited by the chief of police. “He knew I worked well with students and was a people person,” she says. “At the time, my kids were in that age group and I enjoyed interacting with students on campus. I was the only female in the department and was the first officer of the year.”
Tafoya-Bryson is no stranger to blazing her own trail: she recently became the first female Public Safety officer in nearly 10 years at the U of R, after spending the last decade of her career as a dispatcher in the department. She says she felt a responsibility, to both students and women, to become an officer again.
“As a dispatcher, I would take calls from people on campus who needed help, and I always felt the pull to get involved however I could,” she says. “I want students to know that a Hispanic female can be a successful Public Safety officer. I have confidence in myself and my work.”
Now, Tafoya-Bryson gets to interact with people face-to-face instead of over the phone. When she patrols the campus at night, she takes note of the lights on in some of the residence hall rooms, imagines students working on assignments or spending time with friends, and hopes they feel protected. Still, she aims to provide more than just a sense of safety.
“I want to be there for students regardless of what they need, whether that be to unlock a door or escort them home,” she says.
Tafoya-Bryson maintains she is less interested in being recognized for being one of the few female officers in the history of the Public Safety department—helping others succeed is more important to her. That’s why she’s looking forward to the fall, when students are expected to make a full return to campus.
“I’m there for students just like I am for my family,” says Tafoya-Bryson, who has four children and 11 grandchildren. “I can’t wait to be able to interact with students and see them back on campus, so that I can be a positive part of their experiences at the U of R.”
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