Nicki Clark is a student in Butler’s Class of 2022, majoring in Journalism and minoring in Digital Media Production.
Matthew Grimes never really knows what his workday will be like, but that’s his favorite part of the job. As an officer for the Butler University Police Department (BUPD), his day can include anything from assisting a student who has locked their keys inside their car to helping students who are trapped in an elevator on campus.
“The thing about law enforcement that attracted me is that every day is different,” Grimes says. “This is a profession where you have to use your mind. You have to figure out complex situations and make decisions based on all the facts presented to you.”
BUPD provides a law enforcement presence made up of certified officers who help create a safe environment for the campus community. Grimes and the other BUPD officers take great pride in keeping campus safe for students, faculty, and staff. They typically park their patrol cars in areas where students can easily see them, and Grimes says BUPD hopes this helps students feel safe on campus.
“It’s like you’re all my kids, and I want to keep everyone protected,” Grimes says.
Before joining BUPD, Grimes worked for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) for 25 years. He was the lead bicycle instructor for the department, and the city’s officers did their bike patrol training at Butler. Grimes loved being on campus, so when there was an opening with BUPD, he applied. He’s been at Butler ever since.
Grimes says being a police officer on a college campus is different from working for the city. Students often need assistance with issues that might not warrant a call to IMPD—like car trouble—but that campus officers frequently help with.
“A lot of students don’t drive their cars very often, so they’ll go to their car and the battery’s dead,” Grimes explains, providing an example of the ways BUPD officers typically support students. “We’ll go out and assist students with a dead battery, which occurs quite often.”
For Grimes, interacting with students is the highlight of his day.
“Most students come to campus straight out of high school, 18 or 19 years old, and you get to see them develop into young adults,” he says. “Interacting with students, they’ll always wave at us, and I try to wave at as many people as possible. They’re not afraid to come up and ask us questions. The students here are just awesome.”