Officer Charles Minton: Respect and Empathy

Officer Terence “Charles” Minton was surprised when he received the VFW Officer of the Year Award recently; he had been informed of it just two days before the ceremony.

“Captain [Mike] Simpson had nominated me for the award, and honestly, I was very surprised and honored to receive it,” Minton said. “I think every person in [the Washburn Police Department] could have won the award. Every officer here is just as dedicated.”

The award is given to law enforcement officials who have served in the military as Minton did while he was stationed in Fort Riley. He was also a corrections official in Topeka before he came to Washburn to work for the Washburn Police Department. He has been here for 3 years now, and he describes the experience as wholly positive.

Minton is a patrol officer at Washburn, and his tasks range from helping people jumpstart their cars to offering safety escorts to attending to complaints about illegal activities. The most important task for Minton and WUPO is creating a safe environment in which students and faculty can operate without anxiety or fear.  

Minton came from a diverse New York, and he was always wanting to help people.

“You know, deep down, I always had a need to help those who don’t have the resources to help themselves. Even as a kid I was trying to be a peacemaker, and joining the military, I saw people who were downtrodden and in need of help, and I felt if I could do my own part, I would be doing something useful,” Minton said.

His experiences have been rewarding, and according to him, they have been even more so after he started to work for WUPO. The transition from being a corrections officer to a part of WUPO has led to more positive interactions for him. As a person who finds satisfaction in seeing people helped, Minton found exactly that lacking in his previous job.

“The people we had to see were usually anti-social and confined, so there was a greater chance of negative interactions occurring,” Minton said.

He liked that he had constant contact with the person he was in charge of, but since the people there usually didn’t have the mentality that would warrant change, Minton didn’t see his efforts being translated into satisfying results.

“In Washburn, students have a goal set and are not looking to get into trouble,” he said, as he explained how he feels good about the gratitude he sees in the faces of people he helps. He says that it is all about having a respecting attitude towards whoever one interacts with. “Recently, a kid’s car had stopped working when we had the Polar Vortex. So we went there and helped him go on his way. And the gratitude made me feel good,” he said.

For the future, he is planning to help in the process of making WUPO have more of a friendly presence in the Washburn community. “People should know that we are here to help. Respect and empathy. Those are our values,” Minton said.