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James David
James David, UNC Police Sergeant

A 2010 Carolina graduate, James David’s career path took him in a very different direction from his economics major, or so he thought. Now a sergeant for UNC Police, he more typically engages his police academy training and his crisis intervention training. But he can also cite at least one recent time the economics major came in handy.

“I responded to a request for service from a student who was having a personal crisis, and I ended up helping her with her econ homework,” says David, who is the UNC Police community services manager. “That student saw a cop doing something different than they thought. It’s just as simple and rewarding as that.”

The community services team at UNC Police is small — consisting of David and his partner Officer Ray Rodriguez and his K9 Franklin, one of the first crisis response dogs in the state. But while it’s just the three of them, they make an early first impression on the students and then are very involved in campus life throughout the year. David says their main priority is to perform community-oriented policing, presenting UNC Police as campus partners who develop solutions to problems and increase trust in the police.

For David that means the opportunity to work more proactively than most police officers, building relationships across campus with faculty, students, staff. He is one of the first staff members our students meet when he participates in the first-year orientation sessions to educate them on campus safety. In addition to showing up at major campus events he also teaches self-defense classes and schedules “coffee with a cop” at residences halls for important one-on-one time with students.

David distills his role into the act of illustrating to the campus community that there are people who care behind the badge.

“In a nutshell, as [UNC Police] Chief Jeff McCracken says, ‘You police with a community and not to a community,’” says David. “Our goal is to apply our expertise anywhere we can.”

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