Alex Peele is a Public Safety bike officer at Drexel University who has helped make the campus safe and secure for students and community members for well over a year.
The Triangle: What is your role as a Drexel Public Safety officer?
Alex Peele: Basically, the company model is to give great customer service, so we make sure the students are OK, make sure the neighborhood is safe [so] no one gets jumped or gets robbed or anything like that. Basically we serve constantly, like what the [Drexel Police officers] do, though we more so serve the [off-campus residential area] to make sure nothing goes on to harm the students.
TT: Do you ever feel unsafe in any way when you are on the job, trying to keep students out of harm’s way?
AP: No. I have my radio, and if anything goes on, we have cameras all through the campus and all through the neighborhoods. With the cameras [and] with the [blue-light] emergency [boxes], those are there to protect [civilians] and me at the same time. So let’s say something happens to me and I can’t reach my radio, [Public Safety] can look at the camera and find out where I am. So yes, I definitely feel safe when I work.
TT: What would you say a typical day consists of on the job?
AP: A typical day is the weekend. Come to work, sign in, get your stuff, find out what sector you’re in, ride around. You know, make sure nobody’s car is unlocked or open, stuff like that. … It’s not a boring day, but it’s a noncrazy day. So that’s the days we love to have: just a true, chill, nobody getting jumped, no robberies or anything kind of day. That’s basically a regular day.
TT: Have you ever been called to respond to any bizarre situation?
AP: Bizarre, for the years I’ve been with the company here, no, not really. Nothing crazy. We’ve had little policy violations in the rooms and dorms. … Little fires. … That’s really it.
TT: How do you think the Drexel community feels about your role as Public Safety?
AP: The Drexel community, other than [University City District] being on the scene, with me working here and seeing the reactions, I think we get more respect from the community than we do schoolwise. Even though we’re dealing with the school, the community feels safer with us being out there than I guess other people. With the [police], they don’t see what we see because they ride by so fast. With the bike, we see everything. I think more so the community feels happier that we’re out here than anybody else because we see everything.
TT: What are some challenges that come with your position?
AP: The weather, the climate. Sometimes I think the summertime is hot out here; we’re sweating. I mean, we get water breaks and stuff like that, and cool-down breaks. I guess to deal with this job you have to be able to deal with the different weather changes. Like in the wintertime you have to make sure you have the right gear on: the thermals, the gloves, the facemasks. Definitely working with this job, you have to be able to transition with the climate. So if you can’t transition with the weather, it’s not the job for you.
TT: I’ve seen that Public Safety’s main mode of transportation is a bike. Is it easy to get around the city on a bike?
AP: It gets tiresome. It’s definitely a lot of exercise, like it’s a workout. But we don’t ride the bikes when it snows, rains, and when it hails out. Because of the wetness and whatnot, we’ll fall. We’ve had a couple of incidents with stuff like that. But using a bike, it’s easier to get around certain areas: the little alleyways; to cut corners and stuff. Me personally, I’m cool riding a bike. I don’t want to ride in a vehicle.
TT: Would you say Public Safety is a more team-oriented position, or is it more individual?
AP: It’s a team, especially because if something happens on the other side [of campus], we all go over and make sure that person is OK. And also with us [is the] Drexel [Police Department]. When we call on something, they are there to help. So it’s definitely more of a team instead of an “everybody for themselves.”
TT: Would you say there’s anything Drexel could do to make your job easier?
AP: From what I’ve been doing, it’s the same thing at every university: just, you know, monitor your radio; see that they call it out. Anything they could do better? I don’t think so. I don’t have any complaints. I mean, we all have days that we don’t want to come to work; everybody does that. I think Drexel PD is doing fine. Drexel itself is cool. It’s definitely different from coming from Temple [University] to here. It’s definitely a different type of vibe. Because at Temple — I can’t talk bad about them, but at Drexel it’s definitely more of a family type to where if one falls, we all fall. At other places, if one falls, you’re by yourself.
TT: What do you like most about being Public Safety?
AP: Being outside. I love being outside. I’m an outside person, so if there’s anything that I can be outside for, I’ll definitely take it.
TT: What’s your favorite thing to do in Philly?
AP: I’m not from Philly. I’m from Brooklyn, N.Y., so being here the last year and a half, I will say the Fourth of July fireworks. The only thing I really like about it is the fireworks. It’s like the whole Schuylkill is lit up. So every year that’s what I look forward to.
TT: What weekend would you say is the craziest working around students at Drexel?
AP: I’ll say Halloween weekend. Halloween is the craziest weekend. It was definitely crazy this year. There were a lot of parties.
TT: What are you involved with outside of Public Safety?
AP: Outside of the job, I play for different churches. I’m a musician. I travel a lot. I go home to help my mom and them out. I chill at home, catch up on sleep when I’m not working because I’m always at work. Chill with friends and family, catch a good movie — whatever’s out or whatever I like then. I just chill and get away from here for a little bit.
Triangle Talks is a weekly column that highlights members of the Drexel community.