Policing family affair in ASU Dispatch Department

April 12, 2012

Policing is a family affair in the police Dispatch Department at Arizona State University.

Dispatchers Angela Ferrin works the day shift while her stepson, Stewart, handles the night shift. Both share a love of police work with Angela starting as early as high school when she was in a work-study program and took care of administrative duties at the Tempe Police Department. Dispatchers such as Angela and Stewart Ferrin are honored this week as part of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Stewart and Angela Ferrin Download Full Image

Angela found a sense of unity and camaraderie at the Tempe Police Department that she missed after she found another job. She returned to the police department eventually to work as a 911 operator and was promoted to dispatcher. After raising her kids and being a stay at home mom, she was hired at the ASU Police Department as a dispatcher.

When Stewart returned from doing missionary work in Chile, Angela urged him to apply to the ASU Police Department for a dispatch job since he had always wanted to be a police officer.

“I thought we could solve two problems with one solution. He could get his foot in the door and get on the job experience,” Angela said.

Stewart wanted to be a police officer from the time he was a little boy. A prime role model in his life is his father, John Ferrin, who recently retired from the Tempe Police Department after almost 27 years.  

Even though they don’t work the same shift, they occasionally see each other at work and both enjoy the challenges of working for the Dispatch department.

“It’s different every day,” Angela said. “You talk to lots of interesting people. If you can make a difference in just one person’s life, I think it’s great.”

Sometimes making a difference takes on a humorous tone like the time a pig was running loose at the Polytechnic campus and Dispatch had to find someone to call about catching swine.

“We knew who to call for bees, birds or dogs, but not a pig. All you could hear when you called the officer was the pig squealing in the background,” she said. Eventually the pig was reunited with its owner.

Other calls are simple matters like people who are unfamiliar with the campus and misplace their car. It’s especially gratifying to help in cases such as these especially when the person calling is elderly and they’re calling on a summer day.

Some reports that come into Dispatch are harder to handle when someone has experienced trauma such as a laptop theft.

“To a student, it’s a very big deal. They have all of their coursework and financial information on their laptop. That can be very devastating,” she said.

Students cover spring training with New York Times photographer

April 12, 2012

Three students in ASU’s Graphic Information Technology (GIT) program received an opportunity of a lifetime to shadow one of The New York Times’ best photographers, Fred Conrad, as he covered this year’s Cactus League spring training.

Conrad has been shooting with the New York Times for more than 30 years. He has captured unique behind the scenes looks at historical events like the war in Iraq and the faces of Sept. 11 survivors, as well as the high-profile Westminster Dog Show. Download Full Image

Penny Ann Dolin, chair of the GIT program at ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation, is a friend and former colleague of Conrad’s, so when he called Penny to ask if any of her students would be interested in helping him cover spring training, she knew it was opportunity they wouldn’t refuse.

“Fred and I are old friends from when I used to shoot for the New York Times,” said Dolin. “He is an amazing photographer, and I was so thrilled that three of our students would gain that behind the scenes experience with someone so well-known in the industry.”

Jessica Nichols, Chad Westover and John Preston, all students in the GIT program, shadowed Conrad for a week during spring training and captured unique and otherwise unseen angles of the players and fans.

“What makes Fred’s work unique is the perspective he brings,” said Westover. “His technique and style of lighting and composing are not that different than techniques I have learned about or seen before, but his talent is the ability to uncover unique angles. He would focus on things like fans eating hotdogs or players cleaning dirt off their cleats, while completely ignoring the big shot players in action on the field.”

In the GIT program, students learn about graphic information technology covering areas such as web development, graphic design, gaming, print and photography.  In the commercial photography and technical imaging focus, students gain hands-on experience with set building in a commercial quality studio. The Technical Imaging Lab introduces students to high-speed photography and video, thermal and stroboscopic photography. In addition to class projects, ASU clients hire the studio with the students involved in all aspects of the shoot – whether it is still photography or video.

“In the studio, we are able to take our time posing people, arranging products, setting up lights, recomposing and reshooting something until we get it right,” said Westover. “When we were in the field with Fred, it was much different. A photojournalist has to have the ability to predict where and when these special moments will happen, Fred always knew when to be in the right place at the right time.”

For complete coverage of Fred Conrad’s photo story on spring training in The New York Times visit: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/spring-training-with-a-flash/?scp=1&sq=cactus%20league&st=cse.

For more information on the GIT Commercial Photography Studio, please visit http://photo.asu.edu