Ski-U-Mah Life is a new weekly feature from GopherSports.com that highlights some of the more than 700 Minnesota student-athletes outside of their athletic accomplishments. This week, redshirt sophomore golfer Campbell Fisher is spotlighted.
Campbell Fisher was a little boy when four plane crashes shook the nation on Sept. 11, 2001. Still, the TV news footage of the terrorist attacks and their aftermath made an impression on him. Amid images of tragedy were examples of courage, and ubiquitous American flags.
Stories abounded of first responders risking and often giving their own lives to help others escape the burning World Trade Center towers. Americans vowed to remember 9/11 but not to live in fear. These events of 17 years ago must have rubbed off on the Georgia youngster as he grew up.
“I had such a passion for my country and wanted to be able to contribute in some way,” Fisher said.
Now in his third year of college, Fisher has serious aspirations of a career in law enforcement. Not only his exposure to news events, but his favorite games as a child influenced this goal. No, not playing with toy police cars and firetrucks, but playing sports.
“I definitely have a huge passion for being on a team, and from what I’ve gathered from people I’ve known in the law enforcement community, it’s really team-involved,” Fisher said. “I really like that part. And I’ve had a lot of awesome mentors that have given me advice on the path want to take. I think that’s being a federal agent, as of now.”
Currently, Fisher is interested in working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The ATF aims to investigate and prevent federal offenses involving said items, and also regulates firearms and explosives via licensing. Fisher is drawn to the idea of working to prevent terrorism and other violent crime. He said he has always wanted to help people, and feels that law enforcement is a good avenue for him to do so.
“I feel like I was just meant to give back,” Fisher said. “When I got older I realized it’s a great opportunity for me to get into it after college. Everything is not in the best state right now, and young people aren’t as interested in law enforcement as they could be. I’m trying to spread the word and support law enforcement at the local, federal and state levels.”
Fisher is working on forming a club called Future Law Enforcement Leaders of America. He is working with a few fellow student-athletes and Dennis Donovan, who teaches a class called Organizing for the Public Good, which Fisher took last spring. Donovan was not surprised when Fisher first talked to him about starting a student group.
“I think it was the next step for him because of his passion around law enforcement,” Donovan said. “With the stuff he was saying in the classroom, it just made sense to get some other people together with him while at the University of Minnesota to support each other.”
Donovan’s class focuses on the ability of citizens to create change in the society they live in. The class talks about “citizen professionals” who see their jobs as public work, interacting with and influencing the community.
In Fisher, Donovan saw a student who “seemed like he couldn’t get enough of this type of a class.” Fisher participated in discussions and was “not afraid to stir the pot up a little bit, in a good way.”
When Future Law Enforcement Leaders of America fully forms as a club, debate and discussion will likely be part of the program. In light of the often strained relations between law enforcement and the community, Donovan thinks it will be important for future law enforcement professionals to hear from people who view the police negatively, and vice versa. Learning from these citizens will help the aspiring officers and agents see aspects of the job they can improve, and learning about the dreams of these students may help give other citizens a better understanding of and more positive encounter with people in law enforcement.
Fisher has already made several contacts within the field, and plans to bring guest speakers to the club from different levels and branches. He hopes the club will help students figure out the career paths they want to take.
“It’s not always easy to decide all that by yourself,” he said.
Fisher has spoken with employees of multiple federal agencies, both at home in Georgia and in Minneapolis, who have helped him map out ways to the career he wants. He is a business and marketing education major, but hopes to tie law enforcement into his major’s required internship.
Playing a lifetime sport has been an advantage for Fisher as he works out the details of his career and Future Law Enforcement Leaders of America.
“I played golf with a retired member of the Secret Service,” Fisher said. “Golf has really helped me. Meeting people for golf is pretty much how I’ve met everybody in law enforcement.”
Whether it’s with the ATF or another agency, Fisher will need to go through more specialized training and rigorous qualifying procedures before he eventually begins his dream career. But he is making connections and building plans. And he already has traits that are good for an agent, or any other person, to have in his job.
“I think he’s a good listener,” Donovan said. “I think he has a powerful, powerful story that motivates him. He wants to be helpful. One of the things that he believes strongly is that law enforcement officers are very important and can do very good things.”
Justine Buerkle is an assistant director of athletic communications at the University of Minnesota, and a contributing writer to GopherSports.com and Ski-U-Mah Magazine.
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