KINGSTON, R.I. – August 16, 2016 – Those who have followed University of Rhode Island sports over the years might do a double take when they run into the newest members of the campus police force.
That’s because Patrolmen John Bush ’02 of Charlestown and Cameron Schneck ’15 of Wakefield were star members of Rhody’s football and men’s hockey teams, respectively. They joined the police force in May.
Schneck, a member of the nationally ranked men’s Division I hockey club from 2011 to 2015, all but grew up at URI, as his father, Bob, will serve as head coach of the Division I varsity volleyball team for this 36th season this fall, after which he will retire from the post. His mother, Lisa, earned her bachelor’s degree at URI and works on campus and his sister, Ashley, graduated from URI in 2012.
Cameron Schneck was assistant captain for the ice hockey team for the 2014-15 season and was the recipient of the 2014-2015 Sean O’Neil Best Defensive Forward Award. He was a member of the 2012 Rhody team that won the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League title.
Bush played on one of the best Ram football squads in recent history, the 1995 team that went 7-4 overall, 6-2 in the Yankee Conference and finished first in the Northeast Division. He was named the team’s Most Outstanding Lineman in 1997 and 1998 and played for the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts in 2000.
He is a member of the Rhody Grand Team, which was selected by fans in 2013 to identify the top 50 players in school history to help celebrate the 1,000th game in program history
“The reason for both officers’ return to campus was simple,” said URI Police Maj. Michael Jagoda. “They gained so much as students and athletes here that they wanted to come back and make a positive difference. This is where it all began for them. They understand the campus, the demands and challenges and they are committed to community policing. I am excited about brining new blood into the police force. They are eager to learn and engage with community members and bring positive energy to our department and the campus.”
Bush brings extensive experience as a police officer to the URI force. From 2006 to 2012, he was a member of the Horry County Police Department in South Carolina where he served as a beach patrol officer, school resource officer and lance corporal. He was honored five times as Officer of the Month. He also received the Horry County Police Department Certification of Excellence Award. Prior to that, he was a deputy sheriff in the Adams County Sherriff’s Office in Gettysburg, Pa. He was also a police officer at Pennsylvania State University for six months.
Before coming to URI, he was a supervisory aide at Curtis Corner Middle School in South Kingstown, where he worked with administrators on student behavior issues.
While there, he was asked if he would help organize and participate in a cornhole tournament at URI. “I met with Maj. Jagoda and Patrolman Paul Hanrahan and they talked about their plans to make URI a model of community policing. I loved what they were saying. I wanted to be a part of it, and I wanted to come back to a great community. I have run into some familiar faces at Mackal Field House and Keaney Gymnasium, who knew me when I was 18. Now they see me as an adult who wants to contribute to URI.”
Bush has fond memories of his playing days at URI and coverage of him in The Good 5 Cent Cigar by former sports editor Shane Donaldson, now a coordinator of athletics communications at URI who oversees media relations and communications for the football team.
“I saved all the columns that Shane wrote about me,” Bush said.
When he first arrived on campus as a police officer, Bush had a funny experience with Nancy Kelley, now assistant dean of the College of Health Sciences who was Bush’s academic advisor when she worked in the Department of Athletics.
“I yelled to her one day, and I think I scared her. She was really surprised,” said the former lineman who was 6-foot, 4-inches tall, and weighed 298 pounds in his playing days.
Schneck started as a kinesiology major at URI, but switched to sociology/criminology in his sophomore year because he was considering a career as a police officer.
“After graduation I applied to departments all over the state, including URI,” Schneck said. “When URI made me an offer, I accepted. My family is so happy because they all love it here and I do, too. It’s also great being so close to home.”
He said his time with the URI hockey team and head coach Joe Augustine prepared him well for the rigors of the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy.
“He expected everything from you in every practice, in every game and during every shift,” Schneck said.
“The URI Police Department feels like family,” said the 24-year-old patrolman. “It is warm and welcoming and the other officers want me to succeed.”