Police chief and student ambassador share highlights from their time at Emory

Emory Report | May 12, 2021

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Emory Police Chief Rus Drew and student ambassador Zion Kidd both came to Emory four years ago. Before Kidd graduates, they talked about social media, recent challenges and what brought them to the department.

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Each year, the Emory University Police Department (EPD) student ambassadors produce social media content, host community outreach events and monitor EPD social media platforms as part of the department team.

Zion Kidd, a dual major in business administration and anthropology/religion, has served as an EPD ambassador for the last four years. Before graduating, he took time to connect with EPD Chief Rus Drew, who also celebrates four years serving the Emory community. 

Drew: What made you select Emory and what has been your best experience?

Kidd: I really wanted a school with a good undergraduate business program. Probably one of my best experiences has been the farmers market that’s every Tuesday. I love it, and it has a really cool donut shop. I would always go there every Tuesday.

Drew: What led you to become an EPD ambassador?

Kidd: I needed a federal work study job during my freshman year, and EPD was hiring. It gave me the opportunity to do a lot of social media work, which is something I’ve been really interested in, especially freshman year. It’s been a really great opportunity and I’ve learned a lot about social media and community outreach.

Drew: Your social media productions have been great. 

Kidd: Thank you. What drew you to Emory?

Drew: The opportunity to be at stellar institution and work with a police department that has such an impeccable reputation. I saw in EPD a dedicated group who absolutely care about the community, so it was exciting. 

Kidd: What sets the EPD apart from other departments?

Drew: The sense of family, the sense of caring. That has been part of the culture, way before I got to EPD. To be able to continue that sense of caring, and what that means to the community, has been a great experience.

Kidd: What’s your favorite place on campus?

Drew: It absolutely has to be the Quad. Just thinking about Commencement ceremonies and the different events on the Quad. That’s a memorable spot on campus; it’s a great space.

Kidd: What have the challenges of 2020 — and 2021 — taught you about leading a police department?

Drew: In addition to the COVID-19 challenges, the racial justice movement and questions about policing helped us better understand and appreciate our relationships across the Emory community. We’re also working that much harder to build trust by connecting directly with students, faculty and staff. That has absolutely been a huge lesson from this past year.

Drew: What’s something all Emory students should know about EPD?

Kidd: I wish more students knew that EPD is not just campus security guards. They are sworn officers, which is not something I realized before working here. It means that EPD is tasked with a much larger role — not only protecting the Emory community, but doing the outreach events to bridge the gap with the community.

Drew: What advice do you have for incoming students about succeeding at Emory?

Kidd: Learn to ask for help earlier. As a freshman at a school like Emory, sometimes it can feel weird or hard to ask for help. But people are always willing to help you here. That’s something I’ve always appreciated.

Drew: Do you feel that you can include EPD in that group?

Kidd: Absolutely. EPD has so many amazing resources, even for something as simple as misplacing your laptop. You can go to EPD for and they’ll help you find it. Or the bike registration program, which I think is really cool. Even if they cannot help, they can direct you to the right resources on campus.

Kidd: What career advice do you have for me and other Emory students who are graduating?

Drew: Just continue with the great work that you’ve done. If you continue on the same track, I have no doubt that you will be very successful in the future.

They wrapped up their time with a bonus question:

Kidd: Do you put pineapple on pizza?

Drew: Absolutely not. No, no, Zion. Please, no. My tastes are very simplistic. Sweets need to be part of dessert, not the entrée.