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Officer leaves after seven years

Michelle Ma

Walking away from Public Safety on April 20, Sergeant Richard Gourdine leaves the campus with fond memories.

Little did Gourdine, now 71 years old, know that when he accepted a patrolling position in 2000 on campus, he would create a seven-year career.

“He’s the one who practically ran the night shift. The one who did everything,” said sophomore Trevina Caldwell.

According to Public Safety Officers Otis Wicks and Gourdine, Gourdine was the one who returned the Mills computers when they all were stolen the summer of 2006. He first chased the thief, then identified the man to the Oakland Police Department.

Gourdine said that he was also the one to respond to the breakin at President Janet Holmgren’s house the summer of 2006.

Because the Public Safety Honda wouldn’t start, Gourdine ran from White Hall to the President’s House.

He said that people should not let his age fool them: he was voted the most physically fit officer in his district while working as a police officer for the Department of Defense.

Beginning the work for the department in 1985, Gourdine received this honor while he was in his 60s.

Gourdine claimed that he trained 85 percent of the Public Safety officers brought on campus after he started.

Wicks said that Gourdine was always meticulous about the rules and made sure that new trainees understood Public Safety procedures. “He’d go over it two or four times until you got it,” Wicks said.

Some at the Mills community recognize Gourdine by his friendly demeanor.

“He was always very open,” said junior Ashlie McDonald. “He took a personal interest in the students.”

Gourdine said that he did not need the job or the money, but did it for the students.

“When I see [Mills women], I think of my granddaughter,” Gourdine said.

Though she only met him once, Gourdine left a lasting impression on sophomore Samantha Reyna. When a false alarm went off in Ege Hall, Gourdine responded.

“He was very nice about it. He asked what happened, then joked with me,” Reyna said.

Gourdine now spends time with his wife of 27 years, Barbra, and their six children and 13 grandchildren.