Massachusetts Cop Forum banner
Not open for further replies.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

· Registered
4,123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A role model on patrol

A legally deaf officer makes a difference on RIT's campus.

By Greg Livadas
staff writer

(February 23, 2004) - HENRIETTA -
On a typical shift, Tony Wallace responds to alarms, assists motorists who are locked out and cracks down on speeders.

He'll patrol parking lots and walk inside dorm hallways just to make sure everything is fine. People feel safer with the presence of a uniform.

"Visibility is so important, especially somebody in my position," said Wallace, 26. A former Rochester Institute of Technology student and All-American wrestling star, he's also the only deaf campus safety officer at RIT.

Born with spinal meningitis that affected his hearing, Wallace doesn't hear high pitched noises. But he insists there is nothing he can't do. He normally wears two hearing aids and reads lips well. He has gotton used to dispatchers' voices well enough to use his radio rather than a text pager.

His outgoing personality and communications versatility - he speaks fluently in English and sign language - makes him a valuable asset to the college: More than 1,100 of RIT's 15,300 students have a hearing loss; most attend the college's National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

"Our campus population recognizes NTID is part of the university system," said Bob Craig, RIT's director of campus safety.

"Our students think that makes perfect sense" to have a deaf campus safety officer. Five others with hearing loss work as part-time student officers.

The only position Wallace hasn't been given is a dispatching job, but his deafness "is not an issue," Craig said.

"The talents that he brings far outweigh that. He brings an incredible enthusiasm to the position."

Wallace has also been asked to help instruct new recruits in police academies to help increase deaf awareness.

Back on campus, some students consider campus safety officers, who have no arresting powers but can write speeding and parking tickets, something akin to Barney Fife.

"We've been called hall monitors," Wallace said. "We're not just security guards. People have no idea the work that we do, the sense of security we provide."

After patrolling parking lots looking for cars with broken windows or missing license plates on a recent February day, "35" - that's Wallace's badge number - received a call at 12:37 p.m. to take a harassment report at the Student Life Center.

Inside, Jackie Liu smiled and pointed at Wallace: "I remember you. You came to my apartment for the popcorn fire."

After taking her report, Wallace drove by student apartments and saw "RIT LAX" painted outside one apartment in large white letters, a tribute to the school's lacross team.

"That looks ridiculous, but kids will be kids," he said.

He knows about immaturity. Wallace admits struggling for a time in school, getting into trouble and being kicked out "for a little bit of everything" including a 1.0 grade point average.

After a lecture from his father, Gary, a lieutenant in the Franklin, Ohio, police department, and campus safety officers at RIT, Wallace straightened up, did well in school and learned to be responsible. Now he wants to be a role model to others.

"People make mistakes," he said. "But people guided me. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be her today. And that's exactly what I want to do for kids now."

Wallace, who lives in Greece with his fiancee, Stefanie Aiello, also works as RIT's assistant wrestling coach.

At 3 p.m., Wallace went to the east side of campus, where NTID is located. Inside Mark Ellingson Hall, known as Towre A, are 12 floors of dormitories. It is the tallest building on campus.

Sometimes there are roommate disputes, violations of the school's no-alcohol policy or illnesses to deal with. But on this day, he was riding to the top floor to take a look at the campus below. "It's absolutly so beautiful up here," Wallace said.

At 3:25 p.m., he was in his car in a parking lot looking for speeders. Soon, he activated his car's red emergency lights and pulled over a violator. The driver was a 26-year-old graduate who is deaf. Wallace clocked her car at 48 mph, well over the 30 mph limit.

"You need to slow down," he told her in sign language and then walked back to his patrol car with her driver's license. She didn't know it, but he forgot his ticket book this day, so she was about get off with a warning.

"You have to let them think about it," he said in his car before talking to the driver again. "If you tell them this is a warning at first, they wouldn't learn their lesson."

Between calls, Wallace can park his patrol car and doo reports on a laptop computer. Several areas of the RIT campus allow wireless Internet connections.

Wallace has proved he can do his job as well as a hearing officer, and he wouldn't mind following his father's footsteps by working in a police agency. "If an oportunity opened up to get into a police department, I would look into it very, very seriously," Wallace said. "If not, I'd be more than happy to spend my career here. I love it."

Thought you all might find this interesting,


· Chapter 90 Enforcer
3,249 Posts
Whatever happened to that Boston Police Academy Recruit a few years back? I recall he had hearing aids and they pulled him out of line just before the Graduation Ceremonies and said he wasn't graduating even though he passed all parts of the academy. I recall he filed a lawsuit against BPD. Wasn't his father a MSP Tpr?

Any idea where that went?

· Registered
4,123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Campus PO's,

I worked at this campus in the late seventies. I posted the article because I thought it might interest you. My dad sent me the article because I had worked there.

I have seen a number of posts at this site concerning the lack of respect for campus PO's by the public, "real" PO's and the Rudents. One reason for posting this article was "human interest". The other reason was to let you know that no matter how difficult your jobs are, you are still PO's.

Not so at RIT. Not that they can't be, but because the Admin won't let them be. Thankfully, the NYSP and Monroe County Sheriff respect them and understand the difficulties they face: doing the police job without police powers. :shock: The Assistant Dean for student affairs was found to have marijuana in his possession as he attempted to enter a Kenny Loggins concert(hey, it was the late seventies, OK?). He was the guy in charge of the student court...nuff said. Needless to say, no action was taken.

My first OUI arrest was there...a "citizens arrest"(yes, Virginia, there are citizen arrests) after the guy blew through a four-way stop and ran me off the road. My second OUI was also there...same guy...this time he hit my cruiser. His big mistake was kicking the trooper who was assisting me...

I came very close to loosing my job when I refered a "gang rape" to the state police. Unfortunately, the "gang" was the basketball team and therefore very high profile. I was told I should have talked her into letting the college handle it. The president of the college wanted me fired...only the intervention of the Troop E major saved me...He drove up from EHQ Canindagua and advised the president, provost and our director that they were attempting to conceal a felony...and to leave me alone or risk arrest/prosecution...Thanks to BCI Investigator Arnie Zanett!

If you think your job is tough, imagine working at a bolshevik haven like that.

Lastly, the press is not our the article and examine HOW it was written and what they were trying to portray the campus police as... even though the subject of the article was a member of a federally recognized victim's group!

By the way, the president of the college was a Marine Corp colonel...reserve: no matter what, you can't count on 100% of certain groups to support you...not a slam at the Marines, but a word to the wise!
yes, Marines, I was as shocked as you are! :shock:

nasty-skanky-horse trooper.


MSP is here to assist you in any capacity we can...

· Registered
165 Posts
I don't remeber the final disposition on the BPD recruit. I came on the T Police with a man who was legally deaf, he wore two hearing aids. Good man, no issues at work, He did fine at the job, and eventually left for a city PD. There is a difference between legally deaf and stone deaf.

If the alleged disability is correctable, there should be no issue, otherwise all of you guys with glasses get the hell out of the way!

· Subscribing Member
4,410 Posts
I heard that an officer in the area was going to be let go because he is color blind. I guess they did not find out until he had to go to FT MPOC and got the medical done. But he did work for about a year, so it's interesting to see what will happen.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Not open for further replies.