Distinguished Operating Staff Award
Special Investigator, PSU Police Department
“There’s something special about being a campus cop,” says Officer Jennifer Frank, special investigator with the PSU Police Department. “You have an opportunity to build relationships and mentor people that you may not otherwise have in a municipal police department. Municipal officers may have an interaction with someone and never see that person again. I have a chance to see our students many times throughout their college careers, so it’s really important to build relationships.”
Relationship building with students is chief among Frank’s goals, and she finds many ways of making those connections. While she specializes in crimes against women, and works with victims of such crimes, her work also focuses on crime prevention and education. She maintains a high profile on campus by regularly offering self-defense classes, workshops on Internet safety, and programs on violence prevention. She is also a member of several campus organizations, including the Chemical Health Advisory Team (CHAT), the Whole Health Team, and the Safety Committee. Along with her colleague Sergeant Amanda Hutchins, Frank co-advises the student officer program, in which PSU students interested in law enforcement work in the University Police Department. And she is even an advisor to the Delta Zeta sorority—“a great group of women,” she says, many of whom she remains in contact with after graduation.
Outside of her work, Frank makes a point of interacting with students, whether it’s by joining in on a game of ultimate Frisbee or hacky sack, or simply striking up a conversation. “I love interacting with students and talking with them,” she says. “And if just one student feels a little more comfortable with coming to me about an issue, or in recommending me to a friend, it’s worth it.”
Serving the broader community is also a priority for Frank. In schools and organizations throughout the community, she has given presentations on Internet safety, taught self-defense classes, and given workshops on such topics as medication safety and identity theft. She also actively supports a variety of causes, including the Special Olympics and Voices Against Violence.
Frank has received many community and state awards for her efforts, including the 2009 Hero for Justice Award, the 2008 Hometown Hero Award, the Beverly B. Seavey Community Service Award, and a Citation of Bravery from the governor of New Hampshire. She was most recently named to the Union Leader’s 40 under Forty list as one of the young professionals shaping the future of the Granite State.
Frank, who joined the staff at PSU in 2005 after five years of teaching high school social studies, sees important parallels between her current and former professions. “They are both about educating people, helping them make good decisions, and occasionally redirecting them when they don’t make good decisions,” she says.
Known for her unflappable demeanor, Frank was taken aback at being named for the Distinguished Operating Staff Award. “To be chosen by my fellow staff, to know that they felt I met the criteria, means so much to me,” she says. “They are an amazing group of people.”
— Barbra Alan