In January 2008, Timothy Love began his first co-op with the Northeastern University Police Department. As a special services clerk, he worked closely with detectives on a variety of tasks, from organizing materials they needed for court appearances to doing crime analysis and writing reports on crime trends.
Those experiences, which marked his first exposure to working directly in law enforcement, left a profound impact on him. “I was really surprised how much I loved it,” says Love, who returned to NUPD for another co-op the following year.
Nearly a decade later, Love says those two experiential learning opportunities represented a clear turning point in his life. Upon graduating with a degree in criminal justice in 2010, he was hired as a community service officer and served as a dispatcher until he was promoted to patrol officer in 2013. Last year he received the “Officer of the Year Award,” and this summer Love was promoted to patrol sergeant.
“Being promoted and becoming a sergeant is something I’m really proud of. It’s humbling to know that the way I operate is characteristic of a good leader.”
As sergeant, Love oversees day-to-day patrol operations during the day shift, serving as a front-line supervisor to NUPD patrol officers. He says that from training under Sgt. Steven Good, he saw firsthand the value of being a good listener and treating officers with respect. He also notes how NUPD command staff encourages members of the department to pursue their professional interests.
“Being promoted and becoming a sergeant is something I’m really proud of,” Love says. “It’s humbling to know that the way I operate is characteristic of a good leader. But that doesn’t mean I have it all figured out. I want to continue learning every day.”
At his swearing-in ceremony on July 20, NUPD leadership hailed Love’s dedication to the department and the university. Meghan Caine, commander of police operations, described him as level-headed, empathetic, articulate, and a good decision-maker who “continuously demonstrates a compassionate commitment to police work both on and off the field.”
Police Chief Michael Davis spoke of leadership, noting that sergeant “is the most important promotion you’ll make while wearing a uniform. It is the moment when you step from being responsible for yourself to being responsible to others who do this job.”
Davis added: “There is no greater thrill that I can get in this job than to invite people to the next level of leadership.”
‘My office is this whole campus’
Love grew up in Derry, New Hampshire, and as college approached Northeastern jumped out to him because of the co-op program and his love for the city of Boston. He fondly recalls making the 40-mile drive from Derry to Boston in the summers to see Red Sox games with his family and explore the city.
During his time as a student, Love worked for two years as a community ambassador in Off Campus Student Services. In that role, he engaged with his peers living off campus. Love, who describes himself as an introvert, says being a community ambassador helped him develop stronger connections to the neighborhoods surrounding campus, adding that organizing outings for off-campus students forced him to step out of his comfort zone and take charge as a leader.
Rebecca Regan, director of Off Campus Student Services, wrote a recommendation on Love’s behalf for his promotion to sergeant. She noted his frequent check-ins regarding safety and well-being in the Curry Student Center and his thoughtfulness in helping new NUPD employees get to know the OCSS staff and the office’s mission.
“He has always demonstrated focus and dedication to his relationship with Off Campus Student Services as a campus partner and the local community,” Regan wrote of Love.
“He’s really one of the best we have,” added Todd Kaplan, associate director and emergency manager at NUPD. Like Love, Kaplan is among a handful of NUPD employees who began their careers with the department as co-op students.
Love says working for NUPD has been incredibly rewarding and has afforded him the opportunity to see the department and the university through many different lenses, from a co-op student to a full-time sergeant. His strong connection to the university is something he takes to heart every day, with every assignment and every interaction with patrol officers and members of the Northeastern community.
“I used to be this quiet, skinny-looking student,” Love says. “Now I’m out trying to make the campus safe, trying to engage with the community, and that’s something I’m really proud of.”