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Rent-A-Cop? I Think Not!

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The car pulls slowly to the side of the road. A booming voice comes from behind the flashing red and blue lights. Driver step out of the car and face forward, lace your fingers together behind your head. Now follow my voice and start walking backwards. Ok stop, down on your knees. The officer approaches with his gun drawn and sights trained on the torso of the suspect. The clicking of the cuffs is the next thing you would hear if you were involved in a felony stop with Officer Bo Peters.

Officer Peters has been with the Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) Police Department since April of 2001. The GRCC police department is a real and accredited police force. They have full police powers in their jurisdiction, which means that they function much the same as the Grand Rapids Police Department. Officer Peters said “The misconception that we are just a security force is the most challenging part of this job. Even the administrators and faculty at times don’t understand that the GRCCPD is in fact a REAL police force and not just a private security force”.

A private security company would be in place to enforce the company or organizations rules and policies. The security force would not be able or required to enforce traffic laws. They would only be able to perform their duties on the property of the entity employing them. One of the other problems is that there are few requirements for the private security companies. So the people patrolling your campus could have less than a week of training. So for those of us at GRCC, we can be assured that there are fully trained and competent Police Officers here to provide protection for everyone in the campus area. So next time you decide to break the law in or around the GRCC campus you may want to think twice, because you may be the subject in the next traffic or felony stop, or you could be arrested for that warrant that you didn’t know that you had.

Officer Peters is on the opposite end of the spectrum from your typical “rent-a-cop”. He is a 31 year old stocky man with broad shoulders and a clean shaven head. He stands roughly six feet tall. His round, rosy cheeks give him a warm appearance for being such a dominating figure. As serious as he is during his shift, off duty he is a warm and personable man, who is always willing to help anyone who asks for it. Bo is married with three beautiful children, who are the center of his world. He is also very involved in his community as well. As with some of the younger officers, Bo does not let his life revolve around police work. He is more than able to leave his work at work and transform from the intimidating hulk of a man back into his loving and compassionate husband and father mode and not let the calls and drama of the day interfere with his enjoyment of his personal life.

Bo graduated from Thornapple Kellogg High school in 1996 and began attending GRCC. In 1998 Bo entered the GRCC police academy, where he graduated in December 1999. As luck would have it he was able to get into the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department three months later, but only as a part time officer. The opportunity arose at GRCC to become a full time officer in the spring of 2001. While working for GRCC, Bo attended Ferris State University in Grand Rapids to obtain his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, which he received in 2006.
As you can see this GRCCPD officer is well educated and highly trained in all aspects of his job. I can also assure you that the entire group of officers at the GRCCPD are equally as qualified and educated as Officer Bo Peters. So rest easy next time you are on campus that you are being protected by some of the finest men and women in law enforcement.

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