When an urgent situation happens on campus, Officer Shamir Gonzalez is often the first to arrive. That’s because as a motor officer, riding a motorcycle allows him to cut through campus and get where he needs to quickly.
Officer Gonzalez has been with the UCLA Police Department going on three years, and prior to that served with the San Gabriel Police Department and the Department of Corrections. His duties other than being a patrol officer include investigating traffic collisions, teaching defensive tactics as a use of force instructor, and supporting neighboring universities when they need help as part of the state response team.
His ability to respond rapidly to an emergency was put on display in May 2022. While riding his police motorcycle home, Officer Gonzalez spotted a distressed man on the freeway and rushed to assist. He was able to work with a CHP officer to help the man to safety, and for preventing the individual from harming himself, Officer Gonzalez was awarded the Lifesaving Medal.
Besides being able to respond to calls quickly, riding a motorcycle allows Officer Gonzalez to be more approachable by not being in a vehicle.
“I get to park my motorcycle and interact with the public or the student population,” he says. “My goal is to leave them with a better understanding of what we do, so changing their perception is key for me.”
Officer Gonzalez knew from a very early age that he wanted to work in civil service. Originally intending to be a firefighter, he eventually found a career in law enforcement, and attributes support from his family for where he is now.
“Being a police officer at UCLA, it’s a great feeling,” he says. “I’m blessed and I’m grateful, especially to my parents who were immigrants that came to this country to provide for me.”
Being of Mexican and Salvadorian heritage, Officer Gonzalez uses the sacrifices his parents made while growing up to inspire his work today.
“I pay tribute to my parents by doing the best job I can as a police officer, and as a person,” he says. “And when I come to work I like to pay it forward, and always keep them in mind for the hard work they’ve done to raise me.”