Interview with Christopher Tarmann, 01/04/2022

UW Oshkosh Campus Stories
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´╗┐GL: This is Grace Lim interviewing Chris Tarmann on Tuesday, January 4 2022, for Campus COVID Stories. Campus COVID Stories is a collection of oral stories from students and staff at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh about their experiences in the time of COVID. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. Before we start, could you please state your name and spell it for us?

CT: Christopher Tarmann and it's c h r i s t o p h e r and then T AR M A N N

GL: Now for the purposes of getting good audio recording. Tell us again, who you are and what your title is here at UW Oshkosh.

CT: So my name is Chris Tarmann, and I'm the captain at the UW Oshkosh Police Department.

GL: And before we dive into your campus COVID story, we'd like to get to know you a little bit better. Tell us about where you grew up.

CT: I grew up in Coleman, Wisconsin, which is about an hour and a half north of here on highway 141. So 41 to 141. And I usually kind of joke that there's way 00:01:00more cows up there and than people. My sister went to UW Oshkosh, I think in in the middle 90s. And I never looked I applied for a few different colleges, but I never really looked at other colleges because I wanted to come here. I don't know why. It was a sister thing. So I moved here and never left. Really. That's a little bit about my grow up time.

GL: And when did you come here and what degrees degree did you earn?

CT: So I came here in 2001. I actually was here for a couple years and then I went to Fox Valley Tech. And I earned my associates degree in criminal justice. Along with that I got Recruit Academy so that I could be a certifiable police officer. And then I actually came back here while I was working here and finished my degree in 2010 to 2011 to 2014 or so. So I have a an associate's degree in criminal justice and a bachelor's degree in Human Services leadership. 00:02:00And then I also have a certified public or public manager's certificate, I guess, which is a basically for law enforcement. It's like a command college degree. So

GL: And, and when did you, you know, become a employee here at UW Oshkosh?

CT: I actually, I worked here as a student from 2002 to 2004. I was a community service officer. And then I left went and worked at a few different places, but I came back in March, actually, St. Patrick's Day of 2018. March 17 2018, was my return as a full-time employee.

GL: Okay. So pre COVID, tell us about your job. What were your responsibilities?

CT: This is before COVID Oh, my goodness. You know, I've been the second in command, the second in command at UW Oshkosh Police Department since 2010, which 00:03:00really just means that I'm the assistant to the Chief, whatever he needs, whatever he wants me to do operations of the department. And I just have worn a ton of hats over those years. Sometimes in one day, I could be working on some parking issues, I could be dealing with a major investigation. I could go to a meeting in Winnebago County and try to be coordinating some county-wide initiative. I could be going out to the range. I'm a firearms instructor. I actually could be anywhere in the state of Wisconsin teaching, active threat response. These are all these are all just very high level things that I've done. I've scheduled employees scheduled training here, make sure that our people have enough training to accomplish their skills lead the sup, the other supervisors at UW Oshkosh make sure that we're doing proactive initiatives coordinate with Oshkosh Police Department. I mean, there's so many things that they accomplish, and, you know, multitude of a day or a week or even a period of 00:04:00a semester. I mean, there's just a lot of things. So it's, you know, before COVID, it was really focused on police operations, parking operations, how do we manage parking, the director of parking reports through my position, so trying to grow him grow the skills of that area, and really just manage a police department.

GL: So let's move to the time of COVID the early days. Do you recall the first time you heard about COVID-19?

CT: Yeah, January of 2020. I mean, I had heard about it on the news a little bit. And then Cheryl Green, actually called Vice Chancellor Cheryl Green called a meeting and said, "You know, we should talk about what this might do for UW Oshkosh." So we all got into a meeting and Dempsey and the third floor Dempsey, and I mean, it was January, we started talking about what was this going to be like for UW Oshkosh and honestly, I think the first meeting we talked about a 00:05:00lot of stuff. But we talked about is this really going to be a thing? Is it going to impact us? And it's interesting now because I think, you know, many years ago when I was on patrol, I wasn't in a leadership role here at UW Oshkosh. They purchased masks and hand sanitizer for, I want to say it was swine flu, or bird flu, or some one of those flus that happened, you know, and I think it was 2009 or 2008 2010, somewhere in there. And I started thinking like, wow, this is, could it be like that, you know what I mean? But January, January of 2020, is when we first really started talking about this situation where

GL: And, you know, were you, you know, were you keeping up with the news, you know, news from China, news from Italy? I mean, and news from New York. You know, what were your initial reaction to this virus?

CT: I think I was unsure of what was going to happen, how was the impact going 00:06:00to be, you know, and we, we absolutely, I mean, I think when this meeting kicked off, it was like, Okay, we should pay attention to this. It's our responsibility to kind of think, high level about how this could affect the university. And so we are watch, I mean, I say we because collectively, we are as a team kind of trying to watch this thing. And I watched it at home, but we watched it here. We watched it. I mean, daily, we were kind of looking at what's going on? Is it spreading, and then it got to a point where we're like, okay, we really need to start talking about this more frequency, because it is probably going to impact the university. And that happened pretty quick. And so we stayed up on it very regularly. I mean, multiple times a day, we're watching the information.

GL: You are a police officer, I'm gonna play devil's advocate here. You know, you're a police officer, why are you even part of this conversation? You, you fight crime, either. That's a perception of somebody who's not a law enforcement person. So how do you respond to that? I mean, why are you as a police officer? 00:07:00Why do you need to be concerned?

CT: Yeah, no, I think that's really good. I think our office has historically, well, not historically, probably in the last six or eight years really have been turned to focus on emergency management. And this really lands in emergency management. I mean, yes, we go fight crime. Yes, we try to, and honestly, I think a large part of our mission is to proactively resolve crime before it happens, so we have a safe community. But COVID is a huge safety issue. And in and I would say, five or six years ago, we started transitioning our department to be holistic in the sense of, we want to think about risk, we want to think about emergency management, we want to think about policing. I mean, we do a lot of the same things that kind of blend with each other. So we started moving in that direction. So when this thing hit, I mean, we were already primed to take 00:08:00this thing on because we had dealt with noravirus a couple years earlier, we actually did a few tabletops in this realm, talking about how would a virus affect the university. I mean, we actually got together as a team and manage noravirus. And that was, that was pretty phenomenal to work together as a team to figure that out, which now in hindsight, I look back and go, Wow, that really prepared us to kind of ramp into a situation that we had no idea was coming. The core question that you asked, though, I think is because we think about data. We're very proactive, we think about data regularly. I mean, we, the chief when he came here, and like I want to say was February of 2016, he brought what he'll call ComStat. ComStat is where you bring leaders into a room, you talk about a space that you're in charge of what's going on in that area, let's see your data. And then you use all the leaders in the room to kind of look at that data and go, there's a problem here, how do we resolve it, and then you look at it regularly, like if it's a major issue, we want to see the problem regularly, so 00:09:00that the team can actually come in and help you resolve what that problem is. And so what a perfect model to use to try to manage a situation that was going to affect the university, the world, our city, the county. And this is, the chief and I both have a very similar personality that we don't step back, we stepped forward. And so we thought this is an opportunity for us to use that step forward, and kind of jump into this thing and help resolve it not step back and go who's going to manage this thing. So

GL: What does CompStat stand for?

CT: You know, that's a great question. It's really just a term for a data driven meeting that talks about what it's, it's I think the chief could probably answer that better than I could. I just heard him say ComStat. And to me, it's really about a group of people getting together to sift data to figure out what a problem is and solve it.

GL: Okay, as a police officer, I can understand your first responder mentality but as a human person, I mean human being, you have we're facing we were 00:10:00facing, we're still facing a virus that you can't really see. And you can't really like wrap your arms around. Just like, you know, put them in handcuffs or anything like that. What were you feeling as a as a? You know, at that time, you know, this thing is coming and it's here.

CT: Yeah, that's I mean, I to be to be vulnerable in this areas complicated because you know, there's a lot of internal thoughts going on. I mean, I remember probably the end of January, the middle of February, we're talking about what does this look like for you to be Lashkar SJ? How do you how do you talk about shutting a university down? What does it even look like? Can you close the place? You know, I think for me, it was a lot of stress. I mean, it was a lot of stress, trying to figure out like, what is this? We're all making decisions that are impacting a lot of people. And it's kind of interesting to 00:11:00me, because over the years, we've had to do that a lot. I mean, we talked about, let's think about a snow emergency, right? And so we we see something coming in the weather, we're like, oh, it's gonna be six to eight inches. Can we manage that? Well, what's going on around the 16 inches? Do we have a basketball game? Is there a commencement is, are there a bunch of people on campus? Are they away for a break? And we have to try to mitigate the risk of that situation? So we think, okay, it's dangerous, like let's say it's commencement, right? We've, we actually have had to cancel commencement in the past. I'm not saying we as a department, but we as a team. And we thought, there's a lot of people who feel very drawn to come to commencement, because it's important. So even if they're six to eight inches of snow, or 10, or whatever it was, I can't remember, they're going to come, and it's going to be dangerous. And what if somebody dies on the way to commencement, because they felt that important about it, but it really wasn't worth that risk, or that situation taking place. And so we always 00:12:00think, in the in the realm of that, what's the severity of the risk? How's it gonna really affect the situation that we're dealing with? So as we're talking about whether we have to close a school? Well, that leads us to a discussion about, what about the people who live here? How do they get back home? What do they do with their stuff? Who's going to help move the stuff? Can the stuff stay there? How do we protect that stuff? Are our cops can? Can they shift to manage what we need them to manage differently than what they would have managed? What if our cops get sick? We only have 14 cops that work here? How do we manage that? I mean, now my brain is in I mean, not just mine, but our brains are racing with how do we manage this thing? Not only are we thinking high level about the university, but we're thinking about our own personnel and how we continue to do the operation that keep our campus safe. And then I'm even thinking like, and you know, it was never, it was never a concern in my mind, but it was always I can't go anywhere. I can't go home, I have to, like our job 00:13:00is here. So how do we and honestly, it's your we're sitting you the people who are listening to this, you can't see we're sitting in the basement of Radford, which is 4300 square feet. But at the time, we were actually over in 738, Hive, which is about 1000 square feet. And, you know, I said 14 police officers, but there are at any given moment between 70 and 100 employees at the police department between students and people working patrol. So how do you keep all those people safe in a very small environment so that they don't get a virus that we don't we can't see. And then still be able to function as a department? So back to your initial question. It's, it's, it was very stressful to try to figure out, we're leading this thing, how do we, how do we help people make sure that we know what we're doing. But we also help our people understand that we're confident that we can still do this together. So kind of tug them forward with us too. And I don't know there's a lot of emotions, a lot of stress, you know, and then my, my, my wife, and my, I have a married I have a wife and three kids. 00:14:00And so, you know, if I'm at work, am I going to bring something back to home? And if I'm at home, am I going to bring something back to work? Do I you know, and then it was like, the city's dealing the city police departments dealing with a little bit more risk because they're in a community where they their community member members have they have to stay? They can't leave? So what if they get sick? Do we have to help support some of their programming? What do they need a place to stay? I got my so many thoughts going on in our heads that. It's like, how do we just manage the things that we can control and that I mean, it's just it was a lot of stress. It was a lot of not overwhelming stress, but just it's not one problem. It's a lot of different problems that we had to try to solve working together. So

GL: When you became a police officer, I mean, did you ever think that this is something that you would be actually you know, so called fight, you know, like, Did you sign up for That's,

CT: Yeah, I don't, I don't you know, I can't speak for all police officers, but 00:15:00I signed up to do whatever it takes. You know, and it's funny because I was just telling the chief this the other day, like, I think I can think back to, I don't know, let's, let's just say it was January of 2008. And I walked into the old police department over on Rockwell. I walked into there for an interview. And then they walked me over to this, there was an old facility's building kind of Rockwell and High Avenue, there was a giant brown building, that was a facility but they walked me over to a conference room there. And there was a group of people who interviewed me to work as a police officer here. And they gave me a chance. Like, they gave me an opportunity to work here at UW Oshkosh. And I think about that regularly, like I was even thinking about it yesterday. So it didn't matter, it didn't matter what COVID was going to be, it doesn't matter what happens in two hours, doesn't matter what happens in five years, I signed up to be whatever this place needs me to be to help keep them safe. And whether 00:16:00it's a virus or a dangerous person, or a tornado or whatever. Somebody, almost 14 years ago, a group of people gave me an opportunity to work here. So it doesn't matter. I'm gonna step into it, I'm going to do whatever it takes. And, and I appreciate the opportunity to do that. And I think that's where I've led from this entire time. So

GL: You're a member of the EOC? Um, what were your specific tasks?

CT: Yeah, that's complicated a little bit too, because, you know, when this thing started, we had a lieutenant who a percentage of his position description was emergency manager. He left in April of 2021. So I want to think it was this year, I can't, it's hard. It's hard to keep track of that. But so so things have transitioned a little bit before, let's say, well, we activated the EOC pretty quickly, just to pull in a team of people together to talk like it really, the 00:17:00job was to kind of pull people together and be the glue to figure out how we're going to manage this thing. So find the right people figure out what we're going to do use the plans that we have to try to identify the strategies, and then mitigate risk along the way. Really, the immediate thing, in most situations, there's a very immediate danger, that has to be resolved. Right. Once that's contained to resolve, then you move to recovery. And it's very interesting in a situation like a pandemic, because the immediate danger is complicated. I mean, we're sitting here almost two years later, and I would say they're still in immediate danger. So that's a difficult situation as an EOC, to try to wrap your head around. I mean, as we were meeting as an EOC. Yesterday, I kind of mentioned in the meeting like, hey, at some point, we have to think about what we've done over the last two years, and how we've trained our community to react to these situations that are up and down like these waves of, hey, we're good. 00:18:00Hey, we're not so good. Hey, we should wear masks. Hey, we shouldn't we were asked, Hey, stay six feet for me. Hey, it's cool. We can hug. We iced. I don't know if high fives are cool yet or not. But it's thinking about what is what does our future look like? Is it it's probably with COVID? I mean, the entire country is not going to get vaccinated, which is a little bit unfortunate, but it is what it is. So how do we manage what the future looks like? And at what point does that immediate danger transition? So my role in the EOC has kind of been to be a glue. I mean, initially, it was Trent Martin, who was kind of leading the charge. But it actually was Trent Martin, the chief, myself and Kim, who were really kind of the core group who were driving things forward. And then Trent Martin was the face of what we were trying to pull together, you know, in a very quickly came to, like, hey, we we sent everybody home, the employees and the students were sent home. Our personnel were still here. And I was kind of sitting in my office one day and I used to, for years, I went to something 00:19:00called a Global Leadership Summit. It's a it's a nationwide leadership thing that's simulcasting across the world, really. And they bring in these key speakers. And one of them was the guy who is the CEO of Pixar films, or he was the CEO of Pixar films. And I remember him talking about this thing called the brain trust, where the success of Pixar films was really, they would get in a room, everybody's title stripped down, and they would just fling ideas at the wall, right? Doesn't matter if you're my boss, or not, like we all have equal ideas. And so I kind of brought the chief in, I was like, Hey, Chief, like, I still want to have a job here in a few years. And we sent everybody home, like, is the university going to survive? Like, how is this thing gonna manage? And he's like, I don't know. I mean, like, nobody knows, you know what I mean? And I'm like, Well, can we do something like should we should we do something? And so he and I, in that room, I kind of talked about The guy's name is Ed Catmull, 00:20:00the CEO of Pixar, I don't know if he still has or not. But I said, Hey, I, I took a ton of notes on this thing I talked through a little bit, I said, What if we, what if we kind of pose the idea of bring it together, like this brain trust group, like we get this group together? And we just figure out like, how can we bring this place back together? Like because, honestly, is anybody doing that? You know, I mean, like, are we all just sitting around like waiting for an answer to float into our, our lap? Or should we do something because I cared about my job here? And the Chief's like, Yeah, let's do it. So we kind of came up with a plan. He went to the Chancellor Chancellor said, yes, you're it. And then, you know, he's like, here's a list of people and we pulled it together. And so I know, you asked about the EOC, but the EOC kind of started as the the EOC is the glue, right? They start the glue, they understand the process, they have the plan. And then it's really about where do we go from there? How do we, how do we build what we need to to get this? And I would think that's probably more like, what is our recovery look like that immediate month or two or three 00:21:00really, until this the final semester for summer let out then it was kind of okay. We have the whole summer to figure out. What does our next semester look like?

GL: So the group, that the brain trust? Are you talking about the recovery Task Force?

CT: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So me, I called it "the brain trust," but it was really we made it something more formal sounding. So

GL: I like "the brain trust." So during that summer, then you and the Recovery Task Force force, the brain trust, got together and came up with that plan? Right. Yeah. And I think the chief told us that you had two weeks to come up with a great plan. So I got that plan down. Tell, tell me about your, your personal well, your professional, three biggest challenges during the time COVID? What were your challenges during that time?

CT: Well, number one for me, was our people. I mean, it was so hard to try to 00:22:00lead an entire team of folks who are trying to bring this university back. And remember that we have an entire department that we have to also lead. And so I would, I would think the chief probably had a similar thought in this area that we both were so hyper focused on how do we bring UW Oshkosh back, that we forgot a little bit about our people. And that was a huge problem, because, you know, we had great people and they had resiliency, but at the same time, they were struggling, too. And they needed leadership. And so that's a that was an issue. For me, that was probably number one. When you say your people, you tell them that you're I'm talking about police personnel, I'm talking about police officers, I'm talking about the sergeants who are working night shift. I mean, we have this normally, as an agency, there's a there's a function of our university that runs between, I'm gonna say 8am and 4pm. But depending it might be 9am to 2pm, I don't really know. But for us, there is an entire world that 00:23:00happens between 4pm and 8am, that we don't see, you know, like a second shift work 6pm to 4am for us. And so it's hard for us to normally communicate with them. But if now we're focused on COVID. And we lost him a little bit, you know what I mean? Like, we lost what was going on, and it was kind of poor timing, too, because their job changed. They were doing a lot of traffic, right? Because our people weren't here. And then a ton of building checks, like we implemented a mission. And we call it a mission. It was like a written initiative where we wanted to zero in on how do we protect the university. I mean, we had a ton of assets, a ton of land a ton of buildings, and nobody was in there. I mean, in order to be successful in law enforcement, you rely on people that don't realize you rely on them, you know, so as you walk around to your office or in your space in a building, you're a natural presence that deters crime. But when you got sent home, you're not there anymore. And so we're missing 1000s of people walking all over this university that could no longer say, something's not right 00:24:00over here, or something's wrong over here. And I'm not just talking about people, people who might be suspicious or people who shouldn't be there. I'm talking about what if a pipe leaks? Or what if this happens, or what if a door got left open and out pipe freezes? Or what if somebody unplugged refrigerators and power went out? And now there's food? Or what if the animal labs, like there's so many, so their job changed? They had to do all these security minded things, and then they're missing some of the law enforcement things and then we're absent a little bit more than we typically would be. And it just that was very difficult to maintain that piece of what was what that was number one, like it was complicated there.

GL: Did you lose any did any of your staff leave?

CT: You know, that's hard to it's hard to put yes, that their staff have left. That's hard to put our finger on whether it's I think some of that probably was COVID. But UW Oshkosh Police Department Is, is it? I don't know, we have a 00:25:00transitional staff normally. And I think some of that relates to our staff are very underpaid compared to like, if you walk across the street on Wisconsin Street, those cops after a few years are making $10 an hour more than our cops do. They have a little more excitement than some of their call volume regularly. So when you're young, and you work here, you're missing out on the things you saw on TV, which we it's just like, so I it's hard to say COVID Was the casualty of that. But I think some of that obviously plays a role a huge roll and that I just can't really nail that into Yes, that's the problem.

GL: Okay. So the challenge of keeping the, you know, your the morale of your, your, your, your staff,

CT: Morale, and honestly, mental health, and just knowing that we care about them, which we obviously did, it just was, you know, it's hard when the whole place is relying on your leadership skills. So,

GL: Any other challenges? Yeah,

CT: I mean, you know, number two, for me was probably internal challenge, like 00:26:00I, I don't know, you know, I think anytime your function changes that drastically, in a very short window of time, it just messes with you a little bit. And I'm an equity guy. And I feel like people around the university talk about equity a lot. And our people all had to stay here. But they sent a lot of people home and paid them for a window of time, which plays into that last thing, too, because all our people were like, What is all this free money that they're given to the people sitting at home? We're working here. And they didn't get any of that. So there was an inequity stuff that messed with me, but also our people. And it's hard to like, encapsulate that, because most of the people who work here are a little bit frustrated about that. But they also are the people who signed up to do it no matter what. So it's hard to navigate that balance. because not a lot of people who work here are going to say, Hey, you forgot about us, like we really filled a gap. That was important. But nobody 00:27:00really paid attention and said, Oh, hey, thanks for being here. And working while everybody else was getting paid and not working. That part got lost a little bit, I think. And that was, that's complicated. Because I'm not the kind of guy who wants to, like, call that out. But it was important that our people understood that, hey, we really appreciate what you're doing, you know what I mean? And I don't know that ever really, kind of that. So that was number two. Number three was really just, when is this thing over? You know, I don't want to wear a mask. Like I'm totally the guy who's, I mean, here's an example. I was at Pick 'n Save last week. And it I, I had, I had actually stopped putting masks in my truck because they were gone for a while. And then I started again. And then I walked up to the door Pick ' Save and it says masks required. And I kind of look in there and I'm like, Oh man, nobody's wearing a mask. I went back to my truck and got a mask. And I wore one because it says on the door mask required. I'm a rule follower. So I'm the only guy walking around in there with a mask on, you know what I mean? But I don't want to I don't want to wear a mask. I don't 00:28:00know if I I was nervous about the vaccine when that came out. You know, like is what is that? Is it good? Is it bad? Is it good for me? Is it gonna affect me long term? What does that mean? I was kind of hesitant, but I'm also the guy who thinks that your life is important. And it's probably just as important as mine. And if your safety is stronger, because I get a vaccine, I'm going to do it because it's important to you. So you know, all of those internal struggles of decisions around me and try not to be impacted by a political thing, or what's going on in the media or being influenced by somebody who's next to me, or somebody who's friends with me, now is also very still complicated to this date, you know, and I'm a very positive person, but I also get frustrated, right, like normal human does. In in April of 2020, I actually made a decision to take my frustrations and turn them into something that would maybe help somebody else. 00:29:00So even in my social media, like I'm actually very proud of this because I did I just like probably a couple months ago, I sifted through my social media going back to March of 2020 2020. I had two negative posts between March and June not negative, but they were like this kind of sucks. But from June of 2020 to now I have no negativity, I have literally shared things that I think will help other people be positive, but it was really meant for me. I was just trying to help other people through my frustration to see the positive and things. I'm a natural runner. So I would run past a sunset and try to capture a picture and be like, hey, if anything else doesn't make you smile today, maybe it's just sunrise sunrise nuts. So I don't know those are my three top challenges probably during this window of time.

GL: How has your job changed during this time?

CT: Oh gosh. I mean, you know, it didn't change in the sense that I can wear 25 00:30:00different hats and in a 10 hour window of time, you know, but I've definitely shifted to 20%, I don't know, 10 to 20% of my job is, how do we manage this COVID thing. And because of the transition of Trent Martin, who was our emergency manager, so he, you know, I don't, I'm not going to tell Trent Martin story, but some of this stress of this situation ate him, like, it just ate him up inside. And ultimately to the point where he was like, I need to go be a cop. And so he got a job, being a police officer somewhere somewhere else, because he really needed that back. And so as we talk about the change of the job, it changed enough, so much so that if you weren't able to redirect your mind into where we are now, then.


GL: All right, good. This is part two, with this is Grace Lim interviewing Chris Tarmann. On Tuesday, January 4 2022, this is part two, okay, sorry, I can't remember where we're at.

CT: I actually I think I got it locked in. So I was talking about just the, the change in my responsibilities and how it affected Trent Martin, specifically, and probably some of our other staff. And I think you can't create the ingredients that gets you to where you are, right. And I, I was stressed out over the last couple years a few times, I mean, if I, you know, if I didn't have that Chief over there to go and sit in his office, and I felt comfortable talking to him, I probably wouldn't have made it, I would have gone somewhere else I would have left the university. Because you know, what people see, on the outside of what we're accomplishing here is very good. But it takes a lot of stress. And it takes a lot of personal resilience. And it takes another person 00:32:00or two to help you through that. I'm not I'm not gonna lie and say that I didn't almost leave here a couple of times, like I was that frustrated or stressed out about things because of the changes in my job. But that guy over there, the chief, you know, he and I have a very open conversation and communication. And we helped each other get through this thing. And so I don't know, without digging too much into the personal conversation of that stuff. My job has changed a lot. I mean, it's changed in the sense that now I have to try to manage. I mean, so many things, it's so many difficult, high level decisions that you don't necessarily think of I mean, here's a great example. So I don't remember exactly when this was, but we talked about how we're going to have to do testing, right, like we're testing is going to be an integral piece of our ingredients of success. And the Chiefs like, Hey, let's go check out the testing site. In Albee And this is, I don't know, middle of August, the semester, we're 00:33:00coming back. So it must be fall of 2020 20. I don't know. Whatever that is. I mean, honestly, Grace, the last two years is like a blur. I can't even remember exactly like when things turn, but whatever. So it's first semester after we sent everybody home, we're gonna do testing, it's in Albee. We walk over there. And the Chief's like, "Hey, we're gonna have to run this thing." And I was like, "What are you talking about?" And he's like, we don't have anybody to run this. And I'm like, I got plans this weekend. Like I got, I got stuff I got, I own a business, I own a business outside of here. And September's historically a pretty busy month. But I also drive my heart into this place like the I work 55 or 60 hours a week, I will give up whatever it takes to make the whatever I need here. And so I mean, I was literally like very open with him saying, like, I can't be here this weekend, I really can't be here. And at the end of that conversation, I was like, Whatever, I'll make it work. And I ended up coming in 00:34:00that weekend. And then I worked almost 70 hours every week for the next four weeks, at a testing site in Alby Hall doing everything. Nobody really I mean, the people were there, sticking things up people's noses and running the machines in the back. But the process of things was not in place. And so I learned how to use EPIC and epic. My wife uses EPIC in a hospital setting like it's the it's the software that runs all the medical stuff. I taught myself how to do that by making phone calls to the person that I'm going to forget the name of the hospital system, but the one up in Green Bay that supported our testing. And I mean, Amber was amazing. I call Amber I like I don't even know who you are Amber but help me. You know what I mean? And so we worked through this and so

GL: What exactly were you doing with the software?

CT: I mean, when so basically you'd come in, you'd get a test and then we would send it back? Well we put it in a thing We put it into like a little bin, then 00:35:00somebody would take it, they would go run it through the machine. And then they would stick a label and say positive or negative on there. We'd have to figure out, okay, how do we get that into the record? Like, how do we get it into their health record? So they knew whether they were positive or negative. And we were doing hundreds of tests a day, like hundreds, literally, specifically doing? Yeah, so I would have to load their records. Like, I mean, people would come in, I would schedule their appointment and epic, I would tell them like, yep, you can go do this, go do your test. Or I would say, hey, it's, it's okay. You don't have an appointment. But We'll reschedule you like I was literally scheduling and managing the patients that came in for testing. And then for the first week, we spent a lot of time after the doors closed for testing, we would pull all these papers together with all these little stickers all over it that said, positive or negative on there. And we were kind of managing that real time, too. If it was a positive, we'd stick it in a spreadsheet. And we start talking with people about what we need to know like the contract tracers, all that stuff. But 00:36:00at the end of the day, there were hundreds of these little things that we had to go through, open up the record and add it into the medical system. So we have to say, like, you did this test, here's the lab, you're negative, you're not positive for COVID. And, and sometimes the record didn't line up correctly, so we'd have to call somebody and fix the record. Their labs weren't in there, right? Misses all medical stuff, right? Like, this isn't cop stuff. This is a police officer stuff, right? And so literally, for that first month of September, we came back that semester. Most of my meetings were either virtual, and I'm actually virtually in a meeting, sometimes in the EOC. I'm in the EOC, but I'm actually doing, I'm doing this stuff, like I'm loading a patient, I'm adjusting a patient, I'm running over here to manage something, I'm trying to make sure that people like hey, you got to get these tests back because I need to know if they're positive like they were trying to manage, like, how do they live in a residence hall? I built a spreadsheet called the pot. I don't remember it's like it's positive spreadsheet. They use it still now, but I'm not as involved in it. Because at a about the end of September into October, they 00:37:00started hiring people to do what we were doing it some professional people who would come in and do these things.

GL: I have never heard of us that that we had officers at you know, doing the testing. I mean, helping out with the testing. I mean, this is yeah, this was crazy. Yeah. And you were doing that how, how for the first month?

CT: Yeah, for the first month,

GL: How often were you? Were you there

CT: 12 hours a day for six hours, six days a week, I don't know, 12 hours a day, six, six days a week. It was crazy. It was a it was a very difficult, very difficult time. Because, you know, my wife would text me like, Hey, when are you coming home? And I'm like, you know, I still got 100 people to put into the system. And, you know, Grace, if I, if I said, I'm done today, I gotta go, that stuff wouldn't got done. And we would have been worse the next day, you know what I mean? And it took it took some of that to get us to the point where we 00:38:00could hire employees, which would help us out, you know, and that's to no one's fault. We just had no clue. We had no clue how to run a testing site. You know, I mean, wouldn't know what we're going to do. And so

GL: How many officers were there doing that? It wasn't,

CT: It was me, it was Julie Kahrs. I mean, it was really myself, Julie Kahrs. I think Patrick Marcoe. From the Rec Plex. He started coming in quite a bit. Nate Scott was there sometimes, you know, it was a core group of us who were really making this thing happen. And then Kim Langolf, started coming in a few weeks into it also, and then came started hiring the people that were ultimately going to take over these responsibilities. I mean, I don't know if you remember this, but probably the second week in September that that semester, the Chancellor's Office was kind of pushing out a Hey, anybody who can help us come and help us. And then we would train those folks too. input this information. The other piece of the issue was that initially, we had two computers in the testing site like 00:39:00to that like, just like the desktop workstation. And so you can only do so much, right? Because there's only two people inputting the stuff at the same time, we were quickly realized, like, hey, we need we need more computers, and we need more people. I think it got to a point where we had six or eight laptops. And then we trained people how to do just the last piece where you take the label and do the person's chart so that we could give them the results

GL: When you were doing the inputting of the data. And you see these positive numbers. I mean, what what when were you able to process that in your mind? Like, oh, my god, another positive case? I mean,

CT: Yeah, that's so easy. I don't that's that's not the complicated piece for me. In fact, I mean, that semester, we, there were days where we'd have 110, 120, 100 I don't remember our highest number, but we'd have 100 or so positives a day. And I just remember thinking Like, it's okay, we're catching these things 00:40:00and we're we had such a Grace. It's not one person who manages thing at all, it's not even close. Like, it's so many people that pull together and made this thing happen. Like I think Mark Nylen and his team who really set up Webster and Gruenhagen for quarantine and isolation. There, his team was ready to receive like, okay, they're positive. Okay, here's what we're gonna do or Julie Kahrs's team with contract tracing, and she'll be like, Listen, I don't even know what you have a conversation with somebody because you call them. And then here's your options. And people would come back and say, I need to go to Gruenhagan. Or they would say I'm going home. Like it just was managed. So well, like there are people in like, the university, got the right people in the right places, because it didn't matter. Like if we had 150 people positive in a day, we were ready for it. Like we had hundreds of quarantine rooms set aside. Yeah, there were kinks. But this was something we'd never done. Like we had to figure out food service. And that wasn't me. But that was like, Brian from Aladdin and some 00:41:00other folks who kind of like, how does food get in there. And initially, it wasn't great food, right? It was like cereal boxes and some apples and stuff. And if you're in quarantine, that's what you're eating. But it was better than nothing, you know. So it was a system of people who just drove their heart into this thing to make it work. And honestly, if it wasn't those people, it probably wouldn't have been successful. Because it took a lot of different ingredients that kind of come together to make this thing happen. And it's just like, my sacrifice to come in and work that crazy amount of hours that first month. I'm just one of my was one of the people, you know what I mean? Like Julie Kahrs, she was there just as much as I was. And I know the people that were doing quarantine and isolation were there just as much as we were, I just couldn't see them. And then I also know like Carmen Hetzel and her team for contact tracing, I would talk to her regularly on the phone. And she'd be like, it's another positive. And then we would like who's going to take this one. And then the coaches like Matt Lewis, and the other coaches were doing contact tracing. And 00:42:00they didn't like their job change to they weren't coaching, they were like talking about contact racing. But you know, what, if they didn't take it seriously, we wouldn't have been successful. So everybody had to take it seriously. It just was a time where it didn't matter it in order to make a successful, or a bad situation successful it was everybody had to come together to kind of make this thing happen. And so I know, your initial question was, how was my job changed? I don't know. I don't even remember 2020 happening. Like I seriously like it was a cloud to me. And I know a lot of people say that, but there was so much stuff going on so much stress, so much thought so much process so much working as a team. So everything that I don't know what my job used to be, you know, and I don't know if it matters, like right now. It was really about. I will say today, that Chief and I talked a lot about the health of our department. So as much as we're still zeroed in on COVID. We're also very focused on our people. Because that was evident that we lost that I mean, here's 00:43:00another I was in command College, and I'm the only command college class there's seven classes so far, that was set virtual halfway through, but somehow I pulled off a free app that's statewide, and Wisconsin for law enforcement for mental health. I mean, and I think like, I can load it up on my phone right now. It's called Wile Guardians. And I, it's free for all cops in the state of Wisconsin, any sworn personnel and they go in there and they get information for wellness, would that have happened if COVID didn't happen. Because in my headspace, I was unhealthy as a person. I was resilient and okay, but it was unhealthy. And the idea to create an app was born out of that situation. So if I think about, like the ripple effects of COVID, maybe this app doesn't exist, because we never got to that moment, it wasn't a thought my head, you know, so I don't know, there's a lot of negatives of COVID. But there was also a lot of great things like right now I feel like our EOC team, give it to us, like we're ready for it. We're a high functioning team who works really well with each other. And the brain trust 00:44:00is that we get in a room. And it doesn't matter what you have to say, you need to say it and then we use that we chew on that as a team and go, nope, that wasn't the right idea. You know what? You're right. But let's tweak it a little bit for our community. And then so we're functioning at a really high level as a team.

GL: Tell me the name of the app again.

CT: It's called Wile Guardians, W I L E and then guardians, and it's really just Wisconsin law enforcement guardians. But

GL: Who came up with that?

CT: That was me.

GL: Seriously?

CT: Yeah.

GL: You create an app.

CT: Yeah.

GL: During this time?

CT: Yep.

GL: We need to talk a little bit about that. I mean, what does that do that app do?

CT: So you know, you basically tap into the app. And then there's a there's a public screen, but there's also a login screen and the goal of it was that you can get help right now. So I just tap on get help. You can text a phone number and somebody will text back with you real time so that you can get connected, 00:45:00you can actually tap on cop line and call cop line. There's volunteers behind this phone 24/7. The other thing, the other epidemic that's going on in the country, and really, during this window of time, we had a lot of problems with law enforcement, there were some major situations that happened in the country that created a very negative opinion towards law enforcement. And so I mean, I've got a passion for my people, you know, like the cops, the police officers, the people who are driving their heart into what they want to do, and they really want to help people. So I, the intent of the app was a few things. I wanted somebody to be able to tap into an app for free, and connect with a resource 24/7 At some point, and it's not quite there yet. I want to be able to chat live locally with our peer support team. It's built in there, I just don't have volunteers yet. The other piece was to build proactive wellness resources into the app. So you can tap on a button and connect with what am I Diaby, I 00:46:00work 10pm to 8am. I don't get it down to the squad car. But I sit there a lot. So it's like we built buttons in there to like, here's a menu for you like you can bring this food. I mean, there's so many there's so much stuff in your grace, I couldn't go over the all of this right now. But the intent was that our cops needed resilience, they needed wellness, they needed a place to go. And even more than that. I've worked for Marquette County Sheriff's Office Winnett County Police Department and Montello PD. And then I've been here for the last for 13 and a half, 14 years in March will be 14 years. And none of those agencies could zero a budget to build something like this. It's just not there's not enough funding this thing costs, it costs about $13,000 a year for the entire state. I don't have time to talk about how we got to that point. But an agency can't afford that. So my intent was to create this thing for free. So if you're an agency, it doesn't matter, you just request it will give you access, you don't have to worry about a budget, we'll take care of that on the back end, 00:47:00so that we fundraise to pay for that every year. So law enforcement doesn't have to

GL: Hold on Whoa. When did you do this? When did you create this?

CT: This rolled out October of 2020. So was this

GL: something that you were planning to do? I mean, pre COVID? Or

CT: yeah, I think like probably I don't you know, I'd have to look back. This is again, it's in that gray area like I I don't remember when command college started. I graduated December 11 of 2020. I rolled the app out October 1 2020. Most of the work happened probably between April of 2020. And October of 2020.

GL: is I mean, did you have a team creating this? Or is this you?

CT: It was me. And then I did get one other person? Probably in June ish. That really helped me kind of pull it across the finish line

GL: So was this a class project? Or what was this?

CT: This was my personal project in the class? Yeah, there was a class project, 00:48:00but that was different. So it was myself and one other person. But really it was it was me, and then I pulled somebody to help me out.

GL: I know you, don't you. I mean, I eventually we'll talk about this a little more. But I mean, the thing is that you created this thing, and you're you are providing it for free or do you have funding somewhere?

CT: Yeah, takes donations right now, the first year, the guy who owns Star protection patrol here in Winnebago County paid half of the app. And then the Wisconsin law enforcement death Response Team paid the other half. The law enforcement death response team was our command college team project, which really, the goal there was to create a website for them, which I did. And then to get $50,000 fundraised for that program, and then create videos and awareness for what they do. This team responds when an officer dies in the line of duty. And they help everything like they situate the situation. That sounded weird, 00:49:00but they help with it. And so they took some of that money we raised to pay for this app. And it was kind of a neat piece to the my personal project. My the class project created relationship with leader. And then I use my personal project to use that relationship to say, hey, this app that I created could be a proactive function of this team. Right? We don't want to use the law enforcement death Response Team, we want to use an app that saves lives, because a lot of not a lot, but a good percentage of the deaths that happened in law enforcement are suicide. And we I was sick of it like I was sick of seeing like another cop died because we haven't helped them out. And so I mean, this could be a few hour conversations really talking about this, but it was important that we get something in the hands of our cops to help save their lives. And really the end goal was to save one life and I I don't know it's intangible how many people we've helped. So

GL: Did COVID Did the time of COVID push you to do this?

CT: Yeah, definitely. helped me get it across the finish line. I mean, I had 00:50:00time. i It was important. It was stressful for cops COVID helped me realize this into something, and ultimately allowed us. I mean, it was, it was kind of easy to get support, because so many people were like, We need this right now. It was, you know, I don't I'm not great at, I could probably track and timeline this thing out how it kind of laid out for us. But I just remember some of the conversations were like, really like, this is coming right now. And I'm like, yeah, it has to happen. And they're like, it's so perfect timing. You know what I mean? And I don't,

GL: But did you have this idea prior to COVID?

CT: I don't know. I'm not sure. I have to look back and say it's right in the same window of time. Okay. You know what I mean? It's like, it's right. It's, it's between February and May of 2020, that this was realized into something. So

GL: Okay. Okay. So, you know, well, you know, let's go to spring of 2020. So we 00:51:00already went through the fall semester of 2020, where the school was opening up. And then you had on the let me think about this on, not fall 2020

CT: was good was good. Spring is when we sent people home. Right? No, no, no, no. Because it was March of 2020.

GL: So we were sent home. We were sent home March of 2020. And then fall 2020. We came back. Right. Okay. So what were you thinking at that time? Fall of 2020? It was a little did things look? optimistic? I know, you're it was kind of cloudy. It's still kind of cloudy for you?

CT: Yeah. I mean, I think I was excited that we were coming back to school. I mean, I was excited about a few things. Because I think even though COVID wasn't great for everybody, like we implemented a few things that I think were going to help keep people safe. I mean, in a fall semester for me, as the captain at UW 00:52:00Oshkosh Police Department, I get stressed out, like every fall semester, there's something I'm worried about with our I want our students to be safe. There's new students who are coming here, there, they don't know the city, they're influenced by the older students, they're going to make decisions that put them in danger. And I think that's any campus anywhere, right. But for a person who leads a police department, it's super stressful, because I want our students to be safe. So I was kind of excited about fall of 2020, right? Because we in this sock for our students, right? But you couldn't have a guest in your Res Hall, you couldn't bring an outside person into a res hall. Well, that reduce my risk as a law enforcement professional, because those folks don't need to be in res halls. And that ultimately reduced the issues that we had to deal with law enforcement wise. So I was excited about that. I was excited a little bit because the community was kind of locked up a little bit, you know what I mean? 00:53:00And so the people who might create problems, were also kind of staying away. So I felt good about the safety in the aspect of physical danger of our students. But I also have this very unknown, like, what's this virus going to do, but I felt a lot of confidence in our plan. I mean, I knew the people who were going to lead certain areas of the plan, I trusted them, I knew that they were hyper focused into these areas, and they were also people who wanted success of our students. So I actually was kind of excited, I felt bad that the students didn't get the experiences that they needed in college, that that was not so great. But I also had good feelings to it. So I mean, it's really hard to kind of separate those things in somebody's mind. But that was a good semester to kind of just, I don't even know it was it was safe, in a better aspect than it typically would be for me, but it was unsafe and the unsure of who's going to get COVID.

GL: And then spring, then we'd send the students home for and you know, we had 00:54:00the interim break, winter break, and then coming back spring, spring looked. Sprint looked okay, I think I know, I can't remember.

CT: Yeah, it did. You know, and we, we as a team, the EOC team, really, we're thinking about retention? And how do we well recruitment and retention because how do you know, if you're a student seeking a college, you want the experience, like everybody now had a semester under them, or like, I don't, I didn't like that. That wasn't fun. And everybody was in the same boat. So it didn't really matter. But now it's like we have an opportunity. How do we create a plan that allows for our students to be back in person because they need that they want that didn't matter about the virus, right? So that was our focus, like how do we bring that back together? What does that look like? What does it mean for us? And we probably offended a few people along the way, like maybe not university people, but folks in Health Department or folks in different areas, that type of 00:55:00stuff. But we also had proven that, hey, that last semester, we did really good, like our teams are great. We can get testing, we put so many systems in place like we were testing the waist coming out of Res halls. So we knew this res hall's got a problem, we got to go in there and do some testing, right? Then we're like, Well, you know, we're just going to test the red halls, because if we can figure it out where it is, tug it out, and we keep the other people safe. We, we took a semester, dove into it and built a great process. So that next semester, even though it wasn't perfect, we brought people back into the classroom who wanted to be there. Although I think we also learned that there were some rogue staff members who kind of did whatever they wanted to, or faculty or you like, they are not safe. So they, which was I think that was okay, but it still created some, I think it was probably retention issues, because some students really wanted to be in person, but our faculty and some of our staff, our staff, and some of the faculty over you say that right? We're still concerned and rightfully so. So that was complicated to navigate that 00:56:00also. So it's hard that you're kind of pushing a mission and agenda for how you want them to manage, but you can't, there also are people who are like, Hey, I'm still back here a little bit like you helped me get to where you are. And that was tough to get that.

GL: I don't think we had the vaccines yet the spring semester. I think that was I think it came in April, wasn't it?

CT: Yes, I think you're right.

GL: So the spring semester, we're still like in the in the area of the virus is still out there. We don't have a vaccine yet, but it was coming. Well, you and then we have a strict masking policy in place. Were you finding that students were in faculty and staff were mostly in compliant? Or are you finding that there--

CT: Yeah, I think, a very high percentage of our employees or students, they were very good about doing what we asked them to do. And I think some of that was built off of the confidence of what we had done, you know what I mean? Like 00:57:00we put a good plan together, we're very communicative on it. We, I mean, the beauty of the EOC team, too, is that it was kind of segmented into different areas of the university. So if you're in a space, it's very likely that somebody on the EOC is in that space. So they kind of help push forward the things that we're trying to accomplish, which ultimately made it kind of look like we're everywhere. You know what I mean? Like we, we know what we're talking about, the plan got spread out nicely, we're in a team, then people would bring it back to their own space, they would all kind of push that agenda forward, which build confidence in our community, which ultimately was like, Hey, I think I mean, it not only got the attention of our community, it got the attention of the Surgeon General, it got the attention of community leaders. I mean, we would call and have conversations with the health department, and they would be like, we trust you. I mean, that's powerful. You know what I mean? Like, and I think other University started going like what's UW Oshkosh doing? Because we were doing something right, you know, so.

GL: So, okay, we got through the spring semester, and then the fall semester 00:58:00comes around, you know, how, what happened on I mean, what were what will you know, what did you do as an officer and a member of the EOC?

CT: You know, this is where it gets really blurry? Because it seems like it's some of that seems like we were we were just there. And then some of it's like, was that a couple of years ago? I don't know. You know, we met every day as an EOC. We met for a couple hours. The chief is a phenomenal leader when it comes to being in a being in environments focusing us on what we need to talk about. The chief has used data for years at Milwaukee Police Department, I mean, he ran the homicide review team, and you know, talk about a major issue, you have people dying in your community. And now you use that model to bring it to COVID. So we would look at data every day. Where's the issue? What's the issue around us how it was interesting, because we could see that people off campus, we're having a little more of an impact than the people on campus, we had way more control over people on campus, because we'd say you have to get tested, we 00:59:00figured out where the disease was, or the virus, and then we would go and get people what they needed, or get them out of there and keep them safe. So it, it was a lot of similar things. But now, in that next semester, we had a ton of confidence with a very strong team. You know, people's questions were easy to answer. The chief would do a ton of the chief and Kim and a few others. I never had to do this. I think I actually did have to do it once. They would go to those town hall meetings, you know, and just answered questions with parents and students. I think the one day I had to do it. This is kind of funny, and I probably could find the picture. I had to come back at like 7pm to do it. I wore my uniform shirt. I had shorts on underneath. And I walked in and somebody took a picture and dispatched I'm like, but this was the picture of you know that time like you're all on a computer screen so I don't know it was it is foggy, but it was a lot of the very it was very confident in how we're managing things and we had a great team working on stuff and it was just more about mitigating them. risk, not the unknown risk, because now we've been through it, you know, I 01:00:00mean, we, we, this isn't going away, it's something we're gonna have to figure out how to manage through. And really, it's more about helping our people feel safe, even though this is going on so that they can function. That was the word turn to

GL: Moving forward. I mean, this, you know, we're talking now, through the fall of 2021. Okay, now we're going to do the fall of 2021. Were you feeling optimistic about being able to go back into some sort of normal?

CT: Yeah, I was excited because we maybe weren't going to have to wear masks at some point vaccines were a reality. People were getting vaccinated. I was also you know, it's hard not to get influenced by the external. I'm talking like outside of the university, because it's, you know, I don't know, there's, there's an argument. And it's crazy. As you look at the country right now, it's like, very two sided, you know what I mean? Like, there's a side over here, and 01:01:00then there's a side over here, and I've never been that person. I'm the guy who, I see how it affects people. And I figure out where I should be just because of it makes sense. You know what I mean? Sometimes it's my personal thought. But more often than not, it's what's the collective feeling and how I need to do this, because it's going to make the greater good happen. So getting vaccinated is complicated, right? Because now, I have a lot of optimism, like we're going to be vaccinated, maybe we can wipe this thing away. But then there's another side of the world who's in for whatever reason, I'm not saying it's good or bad, like, some people have personal thoughts about being vaccinated, but it kept it right. Like it's here. And now we're in this moment, again, where it's like, okay, it's back quite a bit. And so I don't know I had optimism and fall, we kind of brought things back to normal. My chief and I really shifted our focus on what we were going to we wanted to zero in on our police, we put a really 01:02:00good mission in place to keep our students safe. I mean, fall 2021 has probably been one of the better semester since I've been here for the safety of our students, unrelated to COVID. And not because there were changes, because really, it was like a normal semester. Although I think I can't remember, I think we were masked for a little while, and we didn't we have been wearing masks like the whole time. I can't even keep track of that stuff. Because it's like normal now. But our students were safe. We didn't have any crazy crimes, because of the stuff, the strategies that we put in place and our cops got it, like they did a great job with it. So I felt good. I've actually, as a as an captain, I've, I'm not as zeroed in on COVID, as some of the other folks still are, because it was the Chiefs guidance to me was to shift back to our police officers. And he was kind of going to soak that in a little more. So

GL: Now with a new variant, though, I mean, how do you I mean, right now, while 01:03:00we talk now, in January, very early days of January, how you feeling about COVID? And all its variants?

CT: Yeah, I'm, I don't know, I have a lot of emotions. You know, like, it's hard to say one word or two words, I am frustrated. Because it's, it's not going away. We're two years into this thing. I'm frustrated, because I don't want to have to pull up in a parking space and wonder if I have a mask in my pocket. I'm frustrated, because I think we got we got confused as a country about whether we should be vaccinated or not. And now we're here again. You know, I have I have my own thoughts about vaccinations, too. I mean, I, I think, years ago, they came up with a lot of vaccinations, right. There's a lot of things out there that we've been vaccinated for. But years ago, they didn't have the technology that we have in 2022. And the amount of people in finance and information and 01:04:00things to drive into a successful vaccination. So some of those things that I think people are concerned about. They're not true in 2022. Like, it's so easy to kind of figure out whether it's good or bad. You know what I mean? So, it's hard to wipe some of those things away. I'm just emotionally kind of a wreck. I feel like, I don't know. I don't know what buddy. I know. My job was Captain here. But I don't know what tomorrow brings. You know what I mean? We'll be in I was in the EOC yesterday, and I think I mentioned this, but I was the guy saying, you know, what point? Have we trained our community and now it's kind of like I'm in right now, in this moment. My brain is like, at what point is this normal? And I mean, not because the you know, the flu became normal. And I'm not saying that's good because the flu kills a lot of people. And this kind of is a variant of the flu, but how do we exist going forward? I think I'm in an unknown 01:05:00space like, are we always gonna wear masks? I think it's cool. I mean, if somebody feels comfortable wearing a mask, I think the country has kind of normalized that that's okay. It used to be weird, right? If you go see somebody in the mask, you be like what's going on, but now it's normal. So that's probably a good thing. I hope that stays because I would like to be able to put on a mask and not somebody going like what's wrong with you? So I think that's good. I think the way that we show emotion to each other, shaking hands is complicated now, like people do like a elbow bump, or a fist bump, or, I don't know how I feel about that. I'm kind of a, an emotion, I want to I want to, I don't. I like to hug. You know, I'm just weird. I'm a hugger. I don't know where I'm at. I don't know what the next year brings, I'd like to say in a year that we can be somewhat normal. And I'm not saying like, it has to be the old normal, but a normal that we can live with, or at least that we know, this is what it's 01:06:00going to be so that we can prepare our minds to just be there. So I know, it's not a clear answer, but I don't know. Even know right now. So.

GL: So what has living and working in the time of COVID taught you about yourself?

CT: I think in the last couple of years, I have realized that I have a ton of resiliency, like I or and if I didn't, all the way have resiliency, like it has grown quite a bit for me. I learned how to be compassionate, which I think could have been the opposite. You know, I think I had a lot of frustration, I still do have some of that and negative feelings. But I've learned how to lean on people have learned how my circumstance is just as bad as somebody else's, it might be a little different, but it's probably just as bad or it's just as good. It's not really bad. You know what I mean? Like, I don't even mean to say it that way. Because it's not like we're still breathing. We're still here. You know, people 01:07:00have lost people, I lost some close friends who are similar age to me, I've lost. I've seen people who are friends of mine, passed away from COVID. I mean, this COVID thing isn't fake. It's a real thing. I don't know, I think I just am more grounded as a person like I am. And maybe it's some of that is just like honestly living over the last few years, anybody who's lived over the last few years, and is somewhat of an adult, they've had to have grown as a person. And if they really stopped for a second and thought about their actions over the last couple of years, and then thought about the care for other people, they probably would be like this is this is what I need to do this is I almost wish, I think about 9-11, 2001. You know, and I think about the time after that, where it was flags everywhere, and we love you and we unite you and I wish on the other side of this, that that's how we would be instead of in two separate 01:08:00spaces. But I don't know, I don't know what that's gonna look like I I think as a person, though, I definitely have grown to appreciate people more and really appreciate some of the people who have given the passion and time that they did to the UW Oshkosh community, because I don't know, without the team of people who have been working on this, I don't think I don't know if this place would still be here or what it would be it would be different, you know. So.

GL: Um, do you have anything else you would like to add?

CT: I don't think so. I think well, I guess the one thing I would add is just, you know, I'm glad we're documenting this. I mean, this is an interesting thing in history. I mean, I know there's been some pandemics. But what a unique thing at UW Oshkosh to have such a strong team of people, you know, you can think about why people were hired to be here. Three years ago, why were they hired to be here? Well, they had a skill of some sort. But the people who hired those people didn't know that this was coming, right. And whatever skill that they 01:09:00were hired for, helped enhance the way that we manage us as university and I think it took a few key leaders who were willing to take a risk. I always kind of want to be the guy who tugs the other people forward. And sometimes that does take risk. But there's a few of those people who are involved in this team that really tugged this thing forward. And that ultimately, made us into a leader as university. So you know, whoever's listening to this or whoever this is used in the future. I think it's important that they understand that the team of people who worked on this thing, created a new pathway for UW Oshkosh and really set some pretty high standards in the state for how we manage something. So that's something to be proud of.

GL: Thank you for sharing your stories with us. We appreciate your contributions to the Campus COVID Stories at UW Oshkosh.