By Gregory Snyder, ‘07
On September 11, 2001 at 8:46 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 smashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower. Completely unaware of the situation, I was sitting at a computer in my graphic design course during my junior year of high school. I enjoyed computers and design and I was beginning to lean toward pursuing a college degree in the field. As the day unfolded, my career path changed in an instant.
Someone in class saw the headline news on a website and brought it to everyone’s attention. My teacher turned on a television in the classroom for us to see as we continued with our work. At 9:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 slammed into the South Tower before our very eyes. We were horrified. As the events of the day concluded, I knew what I wanted to spend my life doing. I wanted to be a police officer. I wanted to be the one running in and the one to help those in need. Some say law enforcement is a calling. I’m not sure this is true, but what I do know after working for six years is that it is a challenging and stressful job that will strain your personal relationships and potentially your quality of life. However, when you choose this career for the right reasons and find the department that fits you, as a complete person, there are few more rewarding professions.
After high school, I attended Syracuse University, following in the footsteps of my grandfather, brother and sister before me. I worked as a tour guide for SU and volunteered with the University 100 and enjoyed serving the University community. I bled orange for my years at Syracuse and will continue to for the rest of my life. I completed my degree in Sociology with minors in both Psychology and LGBT studies, but I continued pursuing a career in law enforcement and both my degree and college experiences made me the officer I am today.
My fiancé and I moved to Brooklyn after graduation in May of 2007 and by that July I had completed the painstaking process of written exams, oral interviews, physical fitness testing, and background checks. I then began my six months of training at the New York City Police Department Academy, an adventure and unique life experience, to say the least. After graduating the academy, I worked for another three and half years in the public housing developments in Brooklyn. The extremely high crime area was great for developing my skills and experience, but after about two years of work I knew something just wasn’t right. I loved aspects of my job, but I just knew the department wasn’t quite right for the kind of police officer I wanted to be. New York City was mind blowing, and while the pizza is unmatched, I also knew the city just wasn’t where I wanted to settle down and raise a family. I began the process of looking for a department that was a better fit to me.
In 2010, the perfect job opportunity to combine my passions appeared. As it would happen, the Syracuse University Department of Public Safety, DPS to the community, was hiring. I instantly gravitated toward the idea of returning to my alma mater to do the job I love. After going through the process, I returned to Syracuse University to work full time for the Department of Public Safety in August of 2011. The department has been a great fit for me. It has allowed me to live and work in a place I love, with a community I can relate to, and to be a police officer in a unique way that I couldn’t in New York City.
I don’t know whether or not this is the last stop for me in my law enforcement career. As with any career, I am constantly looking to improve myself and further provide for my family and our future and it is difficult to predict where that road will lead. However, the Department of Public Safety has given me a career I can enjoy and I feel rewarded every day to serve and protect this community.