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Sgt. Glasson makes patrol rounds, doubles as lifesaver, finger surgeon

Have you ever taped back together a sawed-off index finger?

Public Safety Sgt. Jim Glasson has – and the ordeal did not faze this 10-year veteran.


As the war story goes, a couple years ago a student was building theater props in the Murray-Dodge Caf? when "the saw severed and split his finger in two."

After an emergency call went in to Public Safety, Glasson reported first to the scene and did the only thing he could do at the time: find the top of the finger and tape it back to the rest. An emergency medical unit rushed the student to Princeton Medical Center, and the student and his finger turned out fine.

As he drives around in his supervisor's green Ford Crown Victoria, Glasson, in his early forties, exudes a cool certainty.

"To me, it's part of the job," he reflected.

Carnegie water rescue

Playing doctor isn't the typical fare for Public Safety officers. Recently, however, Glasson has made news for saving a life. Just last week, Glasson led a team of Public Safety officers to help rescue a man stranded waist-high in Lake Carnegie.

"It was a team effort though, so really, it wasn't just me," Glasson said.


Glasson said he felt a personal reward in the water rescue.

"I walked away and I felt I did my job and I did it well," he said. "But remember – everybody helped out," added Glasson, who used to fight fires for his hometown in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

He has five brothers, all of whom at some point served as volunteer firefighters. He also has seven sisters.

Despite the University's relatively comfortable environment, Glasson, always armed with a can of pepper spray, a set of handcuffs and a multichannel police radio, doesn't take Princeton for granted.

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"In this line of work – even though Princeton is low in crime, it still has the potential for anything."

But now, as a Public Safety officer, he focuses his work on students.

"You form a relationship with the students – a bond with them," he said. "When you're going to a party you stop and talk."

Despite the fact that busting campus parties (the eating clubs are not in Public Safety's jurisdiction) may lend them an unfavorable perception among the student body, Glasson said he wishes students would consider them as more than just security guards.

'Full-fledged' police officer

"I am a full-fledged New Jersey police officer, and we all went through the regular 21-week course in police academy," he explained.

In the end, though, Glasson said he serves the students' best interests regarding potential transgressions of law.

"We have a policy not to arrest students," he said, referring to underage alcohol consumption or even possible possession of marijuana.

"We have to enforce the law but we prefer to do it internally."

Glasson, who gets Sunday through Tuesday off, spends his free time with his wife, a 12-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son. He calls himself an outdoorsmen and spends time fishing and hunting deer and turkey at his cabin in northeastern Pennsylvania.

For now, he has no plans to leave the University. "I feel like I've found a home, a place where I can retire," he said.