WLU Senior, Wyatt Gardner, Interns with Campus Police

Interns get a chance to take a bite out of crime when the Wheeling Police Department K9 visits. Wyatt is shown with K9 Zero.

West Liberty University’s Campus Police not only provide security to campus, but also offer students in the criminal justice program an opportunity to intern. WLU senior athlete Wyatt Gardner joined the officers on campus on patrol and in the office this semester according to a press release by Maureen Zambito, director of media relations.

Originally from Afton, Wyo., Gardner transferred to WLU after earning an associate degree in criminal justice from Santa Barbara, Calif. Being a current dean list student, he plans and looks forward to taking part in commencement this December where he will complete his bachelor’s degree. “I choose CJ (criminal justice) as my major because I want to help people in my community and be a better influence in the world.”

Since August, Gardner has worked with campus police where some of his duties include monitoring parking, traffic, vandalism and assisting on calls. Officer J.R. Olejasz, who has been a member of campus police since 1983 said the following according to Zambito’s release, “We’ve had lots of interns in the office, but Wyatt is special. He’s got a lot of questions and is very willing to cooperate and learn. He is fun to work with and is consistent in his effort.”

According to Gardner, he made the decision to intern with the West Liberty police department because “it was a really good fit and the individuals who work in the department know me very well.” Gardner says his unforgettable memories with this internship include “all the laughs” he’s had with Officer Olejasz and Chief Ronald Fox.

Gardner is an offensive lineman here on the Hilltop for the WLU football team. According to Hilltopper Sports, at West Liberty he was a part of the MEC-All Academic Team and a two-year starting center at WLU since transferring. In fact, the relationship he has most enjoyed is the friendship he has developed with his offensive line and his coach, Dan Hopkins. Gardner is quoted saying, “Dan is like a father figure to me.”

During his time here on the Hilltop, Gardner’s favorite memories include playing football and building relationships with new people. Gardner’s advice to current WLU students is “try to make friends and go out to social events,” said Gardner.

While Gardner’s plans after college are a “mixed bag” according to him, he does plan to see how far he can go with his football career. When his football career comes to an end, he would like to move to Texas to be a first responder for the city of Austin.

This article was cultivated using Zambito’s original press release published on the WLU News and Media Relations website on Nov. 5. Annalise Murphy interviewed Gardner sepeartly to learn more about after college plans, memories and advice to current students.