Getting to know Sgt. Laura Tison

We had 11 questions for Sgt. Laura Tison in our ongoing series to get to know Division of Public Safety staff:

How long have you worked for UIPD? 

June 19 was my 14-year anniversary.

What is one thing that makes you different?

I’m a secret ninja. Great! Now everyone will know. I guess there isn’t really anything different about me now.

What is something you’d like to see changed on campus or in the community?

I always like to see interactions between the police and our community. I feel that we do a pretty good job, but we could always do more. I would like to see us work with Urbana and Champaign city police in our community interactions as well.  Other than that, I think this community needs to take Zombie Awareness just a little more seriously. It happens every May, and I just don’t feel that enough people know about it.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Champaign-Urbana?

My husband and I like to get tickets to a show at Krannert and stop at the Bread Company on Goodwin for dinner before the performance. The food is good and the wine list isn’t bad. We just tried Miga. I think that will be a favorite but I still like the Bread Company.

What’s one of your funniest or fondest memories as a UIPD officer?

My fondest memory was many years ago. I was still a relatively new patrol officer, and I was working a Fighting Illini football game. I was standing under the horseshoe of the stadium when something fell from above me and landed at my feet. I looked down to see a superhero figurine. I picked it up and looked above me. There was a little boy standing on a walkway looking down with a sad face. I asked him if the toy was his, and he told me it was. I told him to stay put, and I walked up to him. It wasn’t a direct route. I had to walk under him, behind a wall, up a flight of stairs, and around a few turns. When I finally got to him, he was standing with his mother. His face lit up when he saw me, and I handed him his toy. Without hesitation he threw his arms around me and gave me a big hug. He told me thank you and the look in his eyes was pure happiness. That was the first time I remember feeling like this was the best job ever. So many times we never hear a thank you for the things we do. This was the best thank you I ever got. It may not be a sexy cop story, but I always remember the way I felt that day. Sometimes that’s all I need to get through the tough times.

If given the chance, who would you choose to be for a day?

I’m really happy just being me.  I can’t think of anyone else I want to be.

What is your motto in life?

The Golden Rule – treat others as you would like to be treated. It always amazes me how many people think that in order to do this job you have to be mean. I guess that’s why whenever people learn of my occupation they always comment “but you’re so nice” as if you have to be a jerk to be a cop. I always thought sooner or later other cops would figure out what I learned. You catch more flies with honey.

I’m trying to get a new motto to catch on. Whenever someone asks me a question I respond with “follow your heart.” I don’t elaborate, and I let them interpret the meaning. I get some interesting looks from people. It hasn’t really caught on yet, but I’m not giving up that easily.

If you had once-in-a-lifetime front-row tickets and a back stage pass to meet a recording artist, who would it be?

Although I like music and enjoy concerts, I can’t say there is any one artist that I would call my all-time favorite. However, I am a huge foodie! A lot of chefs do a chefs table where you sit in the kitchen of their restaurant while they cook. That is something I would like to do, and it is kind of like the foodie version of a back stage pass. If I was having sushi, I would want to sit at Masaharu Morimoto’s table. For anything else, I think I would like to sit at Anthony Bourdain’s table. I feel like he would have great stories to tell about his dishes and he would probably swear a lot.

If money doesn’t grow on trees, why do banks have branches?

I don’t know. Probably has something to do with voodoo magic.

If a fork were made of gold, would it still be considered silverware?

If you wear your underwear on your head, is it still underwear?  If you say yes, I guess that means a fork is still silverware. Now that It think of it, isn’t it also called flatware? Forks aren’t really flat, either.

What’s something you would like to tell students?

Whenever you’re out drinking and you have a great idea, it’s not a great idea. Trust me.