New KSUPD officer to patrol for Halloween


Officer Brandon Davis, of KSUPD, stands in Kent State’s University main campus library. Officer Davis became a police officer in the KSUPD in 2014 and this is the first year he will be patrolling Kent Halloween.

Dana Miller

Thousands of students are expected to attend the annual Kent Halloween celebrations on campus and downtown next weekend.

While most young people go out to have fun on this night, that’s not the case for 23-year-old Brandon Davis of Parma, Ohio. Davis is one of the newer additions to the Kent State University Police Department (KSUPD) as of Sept. 2014. He currently works the midnight shift.

“Night shift is a little weird because your body has to get used to not sleeping,” Davis said.

Not only does Davis have the duty of keeping the Kent State community safe, he also has the responsibility of taking care of his young son when he is not at work.

“My free time is spent with my son, who’s three. I play rugby, hangout with friends, try to make the most of my time,” Davis said.

Davis attended The University of Akron where he received an associate degree in criminal justice and will soon hold a bachelor’s degree in emergency management and homeland security. He then completed police academy through Kent State.

At a young age, Davis knew he wanted to be a police officer.

“You know when you’re young and someone asks what you want to be, everyone (says) firefighter, doctor, police officer. Mine was (a) cop,” Davis said. “I always just stuck with it.”

This year will be Davis’ first time patrolling Kent Halloween. It’s not uncommon that an event like this would be overwhelming to someone new, however, his calm persona showed otherwise.

“I know it’s a bigger event, but my feelings don’t change when I go to work,” Davis said. “I’m not getting my heart beating fast for any reason, maybe it’s just me being relaxed.”

Other officers of KSUPD who have the opportunity to work with Davis noted the genuine qualities in his character.

“I actually had the privilege of being one of Officer Davis’ training officers when he first started,” said Tricia Knoles, the community resource officer of the university’s police department. “Officer Davis has a very strong work ethic and is very dedicated to our department.”

His positive personality is contagious to his co-workers at the station, Knoles said.

“Recently we’ve had to change his shift to midnight shift and he gladly switched his shift to help and cover because of recent retirements,” Knoles said.

Breaking the stigma of students always thinking police are out to ruin the fun is something Davis tries to change. Knoles said his young age is helpful on a college campus when building a good rapport with students.

“I think our biggest thing is talking to people. So, being from the University, we have that special rapport with students,” Davis said. “We are not here to get them in trouble or anything like that, we are just here to make sure they’re not a harm to themselves or others.”

Although it is important to build a positive association with students, Davis said if they have to arrest someone, it’s because they have to.

“If there is an alternative we’ll go for that but sometimes there is not,” Davis said.

Lt. Richard O’Neill, who has been with KSUPD for 20 years and has worked a majority of Kent’s Halloweens, offered advice for Davis.

“I will be working this Halloween and I’ll tell some of the new officers the same thing I’ve been telling them,” O’Neill said. “It’s just to treat people the same way you do any other time. Be fair, be consistent with your treatment and treat them appropriate to the way they’re behaving.”

Knoles, who has been working Halloween for nine years now, said that in years past there is usually about 10 thousand or more people that fill in downtown and in houses surrounding campus.

“To mentally prepare, I would tell a new officer, ‘just don’t be overwhelmed,’” Knoles said. “It would easily be overwhelming probably to a new officer to see all of these people out.”

While there was a total of 45 arrests last Halloween in Kent, the main goal is to keep students away from harm.  

“(We want to) make sure everyone is safe. There have been injuries, significant injuries, so hopefully we can avoid those this year,” Davis said. “Stop anything before it escalates.”

Dana Miller is the safety and transportation reporter for the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]