Ivan Baeza is experiencing college from a different viewpoint.
Baeza, a 22-year-old Levelland native, recently graduated from SPC’s summer Police Academy in July and returned to campus last month as the newest member of the South Plains College Campus Police Department.
“Campus has a different environment now than when I went to school,” Baeza said. “The students, faculty, just being on campus is different. Different, but good.”
According to Baeza, ever since she was a little girl, helping people and becoming an inspiration is all she has ever wanted to do. While in high school, Baeza said she hoped to enlist in the United States Marine Corps but decided to attend the police academy instead.
“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” recalls Baeza. “Just knowing people can look up to you and ask for help is pretty cool.”
Baeza said that she believes that her being so young and fresh out of school helps her create a greater bond with students on campus, especially the women.
“I’ve only been here for three weeks, and I’ve already had several girls come see me,” said Baeza. “Sometimes there are times where they don’t want to ask the male officers, so they ask me.”
Even though she has only been a campus police officer for a few weeks, Baeza said the job so far is not giving her the action she was expecting but is just enough to practice her communication skills she learned while in the academy.
“I was expecting shooting, pulling people over, arresting people, but it’s been good,” said Baeza. “[Working as a campus police officer] gives you good training on how to talk to the students and faculty during a situation.”
With Baeza being smaller in stature and the only female police officer, her family often worries that her new job could put her safety at risk.
“My mom and boyfriend’s main concern is that I come home,” said Baeza. “I have a 2-year-old little girl, and she needs me home.”
Baeza said that even though they do not fully enjoy her long hours, the support from her family has helped her through the new experience. She said she believes it will benefit her in the future.
“I want to stay at SPC for about two or three more years,” said Baeza. “Then I want to pursue my career with the Levelland Police Department. I would like to get a K-9.”
As the only female campus police officer, Baeza said she hopes that she can inspire other women to accomplish their goals, even if they believe they cannot.
“I want to show them girls can do it too,” said Baeza. “Tiny, little girls can do it too.” It doesn’t matter if you are big, tiny, little, tall, we can all do it if you set your mind to it.”