U employee awarded for public service

By By Michael McFall

By Michael McFall

Marsha Lundgren was walking from her car to her office one afternoon when she noticed four young boys trying to break into cars in a campus parking lot. She immediately wrote down notes on the boys — right down to their skateboards — and reported the incident to the police. Four arrests and two weeks later, Lundgren was rewarded for her role and citizenship.

Marsha Lundgren, department director in the College of Health, was honored by U Police Department chief Scott Folsom with a public service award Tuesday for reporting suspicious activity on campus. The award ceremony, held at the Health and Physical Education Recreation north building, was filled with Lundgren’s colleagues.

Lundgren received a public service medal and a plaque detailing the actions she took to aid U Police. The public service award is the first of its kind to be awarded to someone on campus “who suppressed crime in this manner,” Folsom said.

“When we can say that this person was absolutely doing something that reduced crime on this campus?we like to award that behavior,” he said.

“It’s wonderful to have that recognition, ’cause I’ve always been someone who’s reported suspicious activity,” Lundgren said.

Folsom feels the reason most people do not report suspicious activity is that they do not think to keep an eye out for it.

“One of the challenges to public safety in any community?(is that) police can only see so much,” he said. “So in order to really get a good handle on what’s going on, we rely on the eyes and ears of the community. When you see something that doesn’t look right, phone it in. Marsha did exactly what I’ve asked people to do for years, which is to pay attention to what’s going on.”

The suspects were 14 years old and arrested on cross-misdemeanors. Two already had criminal records, “mostly for kid trouble (such as) fighting with other kids,” Thompson said. A total of six cars were broken into that day. The stolen property was recovered, including PDAs and cell phones.

“What’s surprising is that this was during the day — this wasn’t something at nighttime,” Lundgren said.

Lundgren said faculty in her building used to carry laminated cards with emergency contact numbers on the back, and feels that a major aid to campus security would be if such a policy were implemented campus-wide.

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U police chief Scott Folsom presents Marsha Lundgren with an award for helping catch car burglars on the U campus earlier this month.