Behind the badge: meet officers Kopmann, Boltinghouse
Public Safety officers Ben Boltinghouse and Matt Kopmann both work to interact with the Parkland college community to make it a safer place.
If you check your Parkland email account often, then the name Ben Boltinghouse might seem familiar. As the college relations officer, one of his responsibilities is keeping the staff and students of Parkland apprised of any changes to protocol or safety standards by email, many of which are sent out as basic reminders to help ensure general safety and security at the college.
Boltinghouse has been a police officer at Parkland for almost exactly 4 years, having begun the job on February 1, 2013. Prior to his position at Parkland, he worked as a city cop in Decatur, Ill., before deciding to move back to his hometown with his wife. He says there are definitely pros and cons to both being a city police officer and a college police officer.
“There are definitely a lot more kids at this job but there’s still plenty to do here…It’s pretty rare that you get the same calls every day so it’s nice to have a variety of different stuff to do,” Boltinghouse says of working at Parkland.
Boltinghouse says the day to day variety was one of the things that appealed to him about becoming a cop, that and having the opportunity to help people. But one of the things that keeps him here is the environment.
“I don’t think there’s anyone I work with that I don’t get along with,” Boltinghouse says. “I feel like we have a good relationship with the faculty and staff here as well. Apart from just the officers I interact with, it’s nice to have positive contact with the other employees here as well.”
To help keep safe, Boltinghouse recommends students simply keep a close eye on their belongings.
“If you want to go to the bathroom or get a drink or whatever, it can be tempting to just leave your bag there, but so many times that has been the story of how somebody’s book bag ends up getting stolen, their wallet goes missing out of their bag.”
Even though it’s an inconvenience, according to Boltinghouse, doing simple things like that can be one of the best ways to deter theft, which can unfortunately be pretty common.
Sergeant Matt Kopmann is another police officer students and staff will probably encounter in the hallways. For Kopmann, being up and about as well as seeing everybody and interacting with the faculty and students are some of the major perks of the job.
“I like the size of the department and I think we all work well together,” Kopmann says. “It makes coming to work easier and more enjoyable when you like the people you work with.”
Kopmann has been an officer for about nine years. At first, unsure of what he wanted for a career, he became inspired by his father’s involvement with law enforcement and security work and decided to follow in his footsteps. He first worked for the county jail before becoming a fully-fledged police officer.
Kopmann also says being able to continue to live, work, and improve his home community is another great part of his work as a police officer.
“I knew I didn’t want to move anywhere for work so being able to stay here is one of the reasons I like it,” Kopmann says.
Kopmann’s advice for students and staff is to always be alert and know what you’re going to do.
“Be aware of your surroundings and have a plan in the event of a disaster or if something happens,” Kopmann says. “That would be my advice.”
College Relations Officer Ben Boltinghouse and Sergeant Matt Kopmann can often be seen patrolling the campus streets and hallways and encourage any and all student or faculty members who need help or assistance to simply fill them in on any safety problem or developing security issue.
The Parkland campus police can also be contacted directly by dialing 217-351-2369, their non-emergency contact number.