Nicholls graduate excels at police academy, joins University Police

THIBODAUX – At any given time, between seven and 15 students at Nicholls State University serve as paid, uniformed student officers. They receive basic police training; provide security at sporting events, commencement ceremonies and Mardi Gras parades; and conduct nighttime safety patrols of academic buildings and residence halls.

Alex Barnes

One former student officer, Alex Barnes, returned to University Police in June as a fully certified peace officer, after having graduated at the top of his class from the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Basic Law Enforcement Regional Training Academy.

A Nicholls Hall of Fame graduate and former president of the Student Government Association, Barnes graduated from Nicholls in May 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in government and an associate’s degree in criminal justice.

At the police academy, he earned a grade of 98.26 percent – a success which he said can partially be credited to his experience as a student officer.

“It allowed me to work my way through school and test the waters, to find out if law enforcement was what I wanted to do,” Barnes said. “I’m grateful to have been able to participate in the student officer program – especially the various interagency training programs, including crisis management and first aid. We learned alongside the regular police officers.”

Craig Jaccuzzo, director of university police, said Barnes was the first student officer he hired after becoming director six years ago.

“I am very proud of Alex,” Jaccuzzo said. “The program is beneficial to the students and the department. Not only are student officers an important asset to the force, providing the first level of campus security before certified police officers, they’re also given a valuable opportunity to prepare for their own law enforcement careers.”

Barnes, now a police officer 2 in rank, said his ultimate goal is to become a United States Marshal, specializing in fugitive apprehension.

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