Three New Officers Join PSC Police Department [07/13/15]

Prairie State College (PSC) Police Chief John P. Murphy, Sr. (left), and President Dr. Terri L. Winfree (right) congratulate newly sworn in officers to the PSC Police Department (from second from left) Gilbert Vargas, Jr., Brian C. Smith, and Brittney D. Jackson. Prairie State College (PSC) Police Chief John P. Murphy, Sr. (left), and
President Dr. Terri L. Winfree (right) congratulate newly sworn in
officers to the PSC Police Department
(from second from left)
Gilbert Vargas, Jr., Brian C. Smith, and Brittney D. Jackson.

Prairie State College (PSC) recently welcomed three new police officers to the campus Police Department during a recent swearing in ceremony held at the college.

After a brief welcome by PSC Executive Director of Human Resources David J. Cronan, PSC Board of Trustees member Dr. Ronald J. White delivered the invocation and PSC President Dr. Terri L. Winfree administered the oath.

The three new officers are Gilbert Vargas, Jr., Brian C. Smith, and Brittney D. Jackson.

Vargas has been working at PSC since 2009. He served as an administrative assistant under the college’s previous police chief, and was promoted to a campus safety officer by current Chief John P. Murphy, Sr. in 2013. Vargas was promoted to police officer in March 2015. He attended the police academy at the Police Training Institute (PTI) on the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign campus, where he graduated in June after 480 hours of training. Vargas also recently earned his associate degree in criminal justice from PSC.

Smith joined the PSC Police Department in June 2015. He began his career in 1978 with the Chicago Heights Police Department. Smith retired in 2008 with the rank of captain. He then served as chief of police for the Glenwood Police Department from 2008 to 2011. He had most recently been working as a part-time police officer for the Steger Police Department before being hired by PSC. Smith has an associate degree in criminal justice from South Suburban College. He is the founder of the Metropolitan Police Self-Defense Institute, a private training group that instructs law enforcement officers as well as civilians. This institute earned a Public Service Award from the National Rifle Association in 2012 and 2013.

Jackson also joined the PSC Police Department in June 2015. She graduated from Illinois State University in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and began an internship with the Markham Police Department. She was offered a part-time police position with that department in August 2010. In May 2011, Jackson was offered a full-time police position with the Markham Police Department, where she served until being hired by PSC.

Led by Murphy, the department consists of Sergeants Al Thompson and Sam Pavesich; and Police Officers James O’Banner, Robert Pinnow, Daniel Vaci, Marcello Rivera, George Pfotenhauer, Martin Cansino, and Jeff Bohlen. In June 2015, the police department transitioned from a hybrid police/security department to a fully sworn police force. Murphy notes that this is the model most college and university law enforcement agencies are turning to, in an effort to keep their students, faculty and staff feeling secure. This allows them to concentrate on their respective duties, learning and teaching.