Campus safety officer aspires to do bigger things after graduation

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Alyssa Wilkins / Staff Photo

Edgar Velasco uses his college experiences to
prepare him for what he’ll be doing next

Some people watch crime shows for fun. Other people imagine how to solve crimes in their sleep. These people often begin to wonder if these shows depict real experiences for law enforcement.

Such was the case for twenty-year-old criminal justice major and aspiring corrections officer, Edgar Velasco. After graduating with his associate’s degree this spring and transferring to the University of Washington for his Bachelor’s degree, he will get to find out.

Velasco became intrigued by law entertainment platforms because of the debates and cases of diverse backgrounds. He was drawn in by two contrasting reality shows. One portrayed inmates who are aggressive and intimidating, whereas the other, where guards have a great rapport with inmates.

His fascination with discovering the truths behind these stories inspired him to pursue a career in criminal justice. Additionally, he has a great curiosity in how laws are formed and how they affect his community. This interest will serve him well as a police officer – something he can see himself doing in the future.  

He had originally wanted to go to South Puget Sound because he lived in Lacey. However, the college didn’t have a criminal justice program, and that is what brought him to Pierce.

Alyssa Wilkins / Staff Photo

As part of his curriculum studies, he was able to take a tour of a local corrections facility.  Because of that experience, he started looking at being a corrections officer as a stepping stone to becoming a police officer. 

Velasco works as a safety guard at Pierce, which gives him first-hand experience. The position has helped him overcome his concerns about getting his foot through the door in the criminal justice field. He questioned himself to see if he was mentally prepared for this career. However, with the security job, “It’s definitely given me more confidence about the future,” he said.

As a first-generation college student, he also felt a lot of pressure. One quarter before he was scheduled to graduate, Velasco felt the impulse to drop out because he was mentally drowning. However, he overcame the desire and will be graduating this June. He finds pride in doing this for his family. By the time the quarter ended, he found his personal pride has turned into a driven force for himself.

He put leisurely activities on the backburner in order to solely focus on his college and future career. He has put all his time and energy on school and working his security job which will help him pursue his future career path. “I am here for a purpose,” he said. That purpose placed him on the Dean’s list last quarter.

He hopes to make both his parents and grandparents proud while also doing it for himself. Velasco asked himself, “Do you want to have a successful life? That’s what I want, so I keep pushing through.”