Posted on May 12, 2011 by Tia Lalani
Meet Sergeant Tony Thomsen, Augustana’s ‘boots on the ground’ for the University of Alberta’s Protective Services (UAPS).
By Lisa Feng –
Meet Sergeant Tony Thomsen, Augustana’s ‘boots on the ground’ for the University of Alberta’s Protective Services (UAPS). In September 2010, Sergeant Thomsen was appointed a Community Peace Officer at UofA Augustana, making him the first UAPS member to work on the Camrose campus.
Sergeant Thomsen’s job is to uphold the primary responsibilities of the U of A’s Protective Services: “to protect life and property, to maintain the peace, to render aid to those in need, and to enforce the laws, rules, and regulations equitably and fairly.”
Sergeant Thomsen joined UAPS following a stellar 25-year career in law enforcement with both the Lethbridge Regional Police and the Camrose Police Service, where he ultimately served as the Sergeant in charge of the Major Crimes Unit. This Rosalind, Alberta native and father of two teenage children admits that making the move from Major Crimes to Augustana was a big change.
Even after years of living in Camrose, Sergeant Thomsen was pleasantly surprised by the Augustana community nestled in the heart of the city. Upon arriving on campus, he says, “One of my first revelations was ‘I never knew what we really had here.’ I had travelled through the campus while I was still policing and thought to myself, this was a nice place – quiet, peaceful – but never appreciated what we had. So I quickly learned that this truly is a community within a larger community, and this campus presents just outstanding history, current potential, and future potential.”
Sergeant Thomsen has spent his first academic year on the job forging relationships with Augustana’s administration, staff, and students, as well as members of the wider Camrose community. Much of his time has been spent giving advice on safety, security, and crime prevention to key stakeholders in these communities, including Residence Life staff, for whom he hosted an in-service about UAPS in the Fall. He is also frequently consulted regarding safety precautions and security for major events on campus, such as the Augustana Centenary Kickoff in September, athletic tournaments, and the University of Alberta Round Dance which brought over a thousand visitors to campus in January.
By being a regular presence, Sergeant Thomsen is gradually building relationships with students and staff on campus, which he says is another key to keeping everyone protected. “It’s not the responsibility of one person to make sure this is a safe campus; it’s the responsibility of everybody who’s involved in this community. And… everybody is working together very collaboratively to make that happen.”
As he looks to the future, Sergeant Thomsen most looks forward to when the the University of Alberta’s renowned “blue phone” emergency safety system arrives on campus. In this system, a single-button speaker within a blue tower provides a direct link to UAPS. This system will allow Augustana students to pick up a ‘blue phone’ – a few of which will be located at strategic points around campus – to access the UAPS headquarters any time of day or night. UAPS can then monitor the student through video and audio to provide immediate protection and service.
As an important member of the Augustana Campus, Sergeant Thomsen’s pride in his new community is evident. “There’s no doubt in my mind that University of Alberta Augustana Campus is one of the safest campuses in Canada. Not only is it one of the most safe places to further your education, but they have taken extraordinary steps to ensure that it continues to be safe, and I’m part of that formula.”
For more information on the University of Alberta’s Protective Services, visit their website.
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