Matthew Gibson

Police Officer, Department of Police and Public Safety

Matthew Gibson

What year did you start working at NIU?

Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
My hometown is Ypsilanti, Michigan, and I live in Rockford, Illinois.

In what department do you work?
Department of Police and Public Safety 

Where did you attend school? What degree(s) did you earn?
From 2014 to 2018, I attended NIU. In 2018, I earned my bachelor’s degree in health sciences with an emphasis in pre-physical therapy from the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Describe your typical day—what do you do while at work?
A typical workday begins with donning my uniform, ensuring my equipment is functioning properly and identifying areas of interest in my assigned zone. I try to frequent highly populated areas on campus and touch base with students and staff attending campus events/programs. I respond to emergency and non-emergency calls in an effort to resolve concerns and provide a peaceful resolution for all. I conduct self-initiated activity as well, including traffic stops, campus lot checks, residence halls checks and building checks.

What do you like about working at NIU?
I like being able to interact with students and staff who may not always see a police officer during their time on campus. These interactions allow me to be transparent, attentive and vulnerable. I like that different interactions allow people to see me in a different light that would otherwise be overshadowed by my career choice. I like being able to remind people that I wear many hats day in and day out, just like other officers within our police department. Being a son, father, husband, former NIU student and current NIU master’s degree student, as well as an NIU police officer, allows me to be relatable beyond what the human eye can see.

What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?

  • Take full advantage of NIU’s campus, faculty, staff and amenities because those areas can be the gateway to a rewarding life and career.
  • Never be too proud to ask for help.
  • A setback is only a setback if you allow it to overshadow the blessing behind it.
  • Normalize taking care of yourself just as much as you take care of others. You deserve to be happy and at peace, too!
  • Don’t get lost in chasing someone else’s vision.
  • Cherish the people you come across and meet while on campus. You never know who you’ll need one day.
  • Failure is a part of success, not the opposite.
  • Establish your why and always keep it in sight.

What is your favorite campus event?
Summer, spring and fall graduations. Outside of the big accomplishment, it’s always a pleasure to see students and staff better themselves. 

In what ways do you see your colleagues help foster student success?
My colleagues help foster student success by ensuring campus safety, working long hours, volunteering their time and conducting trainings. It is in these ways that we build relationships, break down misconceptions and broaden horizons. 

What is your favorite memory of NIU?
My favorite memory of NIU is when my wife and I had a photo shoot for our engagement at the East Lagoon. We dated throughout college, graduated together, obtained jobs that have become our careers and shared our stomping grounds with our son. This memory was a reminder that all I had gone through in my life, by choice or design, was for a purpose bigger than myself. I think we Huskies call that NIU pride!

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
Growing up, I wanted to be a police officer. I had a change of heart during high school when I met some amazing physical therapists who helped me get back on the field and track. Toward the end of my senior year of college, I realized I wanted to have a career once I graduated. At the time, I was working for our police department, so you can say public safety grew on me. In April of 2019, Officer Gibson was born!

Are you a member of or hold a position within a professional organization? If so, what organization? What is the purpose of that organization and how does being part of this organization benefit you in your role at NIU?
While at NIU, I was a member of the Black Male Initiative (BMI). The organization’s goal is to help African American males across NIU’s campus toward graduation. Don Bramlett (BMI’s founder) had this incredible vision because of what he didn’t see available to African American men on NIU’s campus many years ago. As a result, he founded BMI and the SOL (Supporting Opportunities for Latinos) organization, which has been a pillar for so many men who’ve graduated from NIU. 

What do you do to relax or recharge?
I enjoy working out, spending time with my friends, going to the gun range, sleeping (hands down) and creating memories with my family. Outside of my amazing colleagues and immediate family, my wife and son are truly my safe haven! 

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
I am excited for this school year and what it may bring. Please don’t be a stranger to our NIU officers, and we’ll definitely not be strangers to you all. Campus safety and security is maintained when we all take a vested interest in it. Cheers to the year(s) ahead, and let’s go Huskies!

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