Orange Pride: Pam Jackson
It’s not really a surprise that Pam Jackson ended up working in a police department.
Her dad, now retired, was a state trooper. Her husband, recently promoted to commander, is a police officer with the Jenks Police Department.
“I guess you could say I come from a police family,” she said. “I kind of gravitated toward it.”
Jackson, who is administrative assistant to the police chief and dispatcher for the OSU-Tulsa Police Department, is the latest recipient of the Orange Pride Award for Employee Excellence.
The award recognizes OSU-Tulsa employees who go above and beyond their normal job duties and embody the Cowboy spirit.
After spending two years working part-time in student activities, Jackson began her full-time police dispatcher career 25 years ago when the OSU-Tulsa campus was known as the University Center at Tulsa.
The only building then was Main Hall, which was shared by Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, Langston University and Northeastern State University.
While here, she has seen the construction of North Hall and Administration Hall, followed by the Helmerich Research Center a number of years later.
To say things have changed since 1993 is an understatement.
“It was definitely a different time, more laid back than now,” she said. “I worked under then Police Chief Arvil Rudd. I learned the job by doing it.”
In fact, she has worked under every police chief at the university over the years. Rudd was the first police chief on campus, followed by Steve Gahagans, David Pillars and finally Melvin Murdock, who is the longest serving chief. Pillars is now a lieutenant and acting chief after Murdock’s retirement last November.
Jackson’s job has evolved over time, aided now by technology light years ahead of what it was 25 years ago.
She keeps watch on surveillance cameras located throughout campus. Camera views are displayed in squares that cover two large-screen monitors hanging on the wall right next to her desk.
Jackson also has gone through intensive professional training since then to ensure she is up to speed on the latest police best practices.
Aside from the chief, her first allegiance is to OSU-Tulsa’s police officers.
“In my job, you are the officer’s lifeline. That’s my priority, the officer in the field,” she said.
Whenever an officer goes out on a call, she makes sure she monitors them for their safety.
No call is benign.
“A lot of people think that a traffic stop is routine, but it’s definitely not. It can be dangerous,” Jackson said.
With her family’s ties to policing, she understands that only too well.
Jackson is a Glenpool native still living in the south Tulsa County town. She and her husband have raised two sons who are in their early 20s and they still have a 12-year-old son at home.
When she leaves her family to go to work at OSU-Tulsa, she says it’s like a second home and her co-workers are her second family.
“I love OSU and everyone I work with. We care about each other,” Jackson said. “I am so proud to work for this department. Our campus is one of the safest and I'm very passionate about our department being successful and professional.”