A cop’s opinion: An inside look


Kiara Jackson

Lawrence Blaser, a former police officer and current hall director at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire, standing in front of his dorm. ©2021 Kiara Jackson

Inspired by his grandfather, Lawrence Blaser, a hall director at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, longed to become a police officer for his whole life. In this interview, Lawrence talks about community policing, protesters, his struggles with the police force, why he left the police force, and what brought him to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.


(The following story was told by Lawrence Blaser to Kiara Jackson)

My name is Lawrence Blaser and I am currently the residence hall director for Murray Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Housing.

I started in law enforcement in the summer of 2020 and I was actually only in law enforcement for about 6 months. Since I was a kid my grandpa was a police officer and it felt like the best way for me to be able to help people. I really wanted to be able to impact my community in a positive way and this felt like the way to do it, and I was really searching for a department that prided itself on its community policing.

My intention was never to really leave Law Enforcement all together that’s just kind of the path where I had an amazing opportunity presented to me through the university and I jumped on it, but my issue was more with my department than it was with law enforcement as a whole because I felt like they really had stressed in their recruitment stuff that they were really heavily based into community policing and that just wasn’t the experience that I had while I was there.

Just as an example, homelessness is a problem that every community experiences but every community is going to confront that problem differently, and the police are always going to have interactions with the homeless population of any city. You would confront people who had nowhere else to go sleeping in the park, you tell them that they can’t be here, so they ask “Where do I go?” Not here. And to me, that’s not community policing. That’s not me being there and available and helping my community, that’s me actively being a detriment to the community. I’m not providing a solution, I’m simply telling this person that you cant be here, because the rules say you cant.

there were some days where I came home very proud of the work that I’ve done but not enough to equal out the other days.

There were protests but they were all conducted very peacefully there was never any problems. The interactions that the police had with protesters were all positive it was basically, we were there, not there to watch the protesters, there to watch the counter-protesters, because there were other people. It was a pretty red area in the state so there was probably more counter-protesters than there were actual protesters and we were there to make sure there were no issues between the two groups, and there never were. It was all just kinda peaceful discourse.

Policy is normally reasonably easy to follow because these policies are made to keep you and the public safe, so as long as you are thinking about how do I keep myself and the public safe and that’s the forefront of your mind, you don’t need to be thinking about the policy.

I was a resident assistant while I was in school for 4 of the 5 years that I attended Eau Claire, and my boss and I had stayed in contact. She knew that I wasn’t terrifically happy with what had happened with Manitowoc.

The position actually had opened up for a police officer here on the UW campus. We really missed Eau Claire, we wanted to move back to Eau Claire, so I put in an application. My old boss had reached out and said “hey I know you weren’t terrifically happy down there. I saw that you were applying for the police position up here. Would you be interested if that police position doesn’t work out for you, would you be interested in still moving up here to fill an emergency position in housing?

The opportunity was just too good to pass up. There was no telling that the police position was going to be a sure thing. but I am certainly looking at the possibility of returning to law enforcement. So it’s possible that next year I’ll still be on the campus, still be working with students, but be doing so in a law enforcement capacity.

The reasons that I left, I feel, were department-specific. I think that it’s a very normal problem to have for a police department. That’s not been my experience from what I’ve seen from the UW Eau Claire Police Department. College campus police departments have been doing community-based policing better and longer than anywhere else. They basically pioneered it, just because of the demographics that their working with, and the way that they have to do their policing is very different than you would in a city suburb.

So basically the reason I’m looking to come back is because I trust this department to do things differently. There are different ways to have effective law enforcement and that wasn’t the experience that I was looking for. Hopefully, if I do return the next one will be.

For more information you may contact Lawrence Blaser HERE