All in a Day’s Work: A Minute with Bruce Heine
Q: How is Campus Security different from when you came in 1991? What’s stayed the same?
Our office only had one computer for the director when I came onboard as an officer.
For the first three years, I had to handwrite all my reports and I have terrible penmanship. We communicated with radios then, and we still do with a 24-hour dispatch, except when we have something confidential to say. Then we use phones.
To this day, we are unarmed so that we are more approachable and less threatening to students.
Q: What’s the most important part of your job?
Our job is to keep students safe, make them feel comfortable, help them get through four years here, and move on to bigger and better things in the world.
That’s why we patrol, and why we’re active and visible, because we want students to have a good, positive experience and enjoy themselves while they study and excel. That’s the reason I’ve been here so many years. I’ve found it’s a worthwhile job, that I am accomplishing something.
Q: Describe a challenging moment.
We’ve had medical emergencies with students in life-threatening situations. Our responses and first aid can make a huge difference until the paramedics arrive. All of our officers have first aid, CPR, and AED training.
Q: You’re known for your sense of humor when the situation allows. Can you share a joke?
I don’t really tell jokes well. I play on what other people say or a situation.
Back in the day, security officers would troubleshoot phone problems on campus. I’d often be walking across campus carrying a landline telephone. So if I saw a student or staff member I knew, I’d walk up to them with the receiver in my hand and say, ‘I’ve been looking all over for you. John Winklemann (longtime Residential Life director) wants to talk to you.’ Then I’d hand them the phone. Almost everyone would say very seriously: “Hello?”
Then they’d realize: We’re out on a city sidewalk and there’s no way this phone is connected. It was a great prank.
Q: Have students created situations that are humorous in hindsight?
Everyone wants to know what we do about bell runs (students, practically naked, running to the M-I Bell, usually late at night). The answer is: We stay away. We can’t stop them or ask for an ID. They’re running in their tennis shoes and that’s about all. We pretty much let bell runs be bell runs.
One time, the old bookstore in Pearsons stored a large roll of bubble wrap in an unsecured stairwell. I was walking toward the residential side of campus one night and heard this odd popping sound that was loud and constant. Somebody had found, relocated, and unrolled the bubble wrap, which was half a city block long. They laid it out on the 800 block of College Street in front of the fraternities and sororities and students were running up and down, popping all the bubbles.
Q: You plan to retire at the end of 2023. What’s on your retirement bucket list?
Besides dental hygiene? [laughs]. I do as much hunting and fishing as I can now, and I’ll probably do more. My wife and I enjoy swimming and boating and we like to travel. We plan to go to a new place at least once a year. I’m from a family of nine kids, with relatives all over the place. We all have children and our children have children.
Q: What will you miss about Beloit?
The people. The institution is a great place with beautiful grounds and spectacular buildings, but it’s really the congregation of people who have made Beloit what it is today, and what it was back in 1991.
Faculty and staff are all doing something beneficial for society, if you think about it. We’re helping students become thoughtful, inventive, outgoing members of our society. That’s what we do here.