Student Spotlight: Brandon Rodriguez Oropeza

Brandon Rodriguez Oropeza

Law Enforcement major working as student security officer

Brandon Rodriguez Oropeza, 20, is completing his Law Enforcement Transfer Pathway A.S. degree at Inver Hills Community College. Brandon is on track to graduate from Inver Hills in 2022.

After earning his A.S. degree, Brandon is planning on transferring to Minnesota State University Mankato to pursue a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Criminal Justice. His career plans are centered on working as a police officer and later as a police detective.

Brandon works as a student security officer at the college. His main duties are focused on providing safety and security service on campus, including escorting people to their vehicles.

“We check buildings and lock doors while making sure there is no suspicious activity around campus,” Brandon said. “We also respond to campus emergencies to protect people and property by going to the location where the assistance is needed.”

Brandon related that the best part of his job as a student security officer is getting the chance to talk to students and staff, getting to know them better as he makes his rounds.

COVID-19 has made it a bit of a challenge because there are few students or staff on campus right now,” he said, “but I always greet everyone I encounter.”

How is your job as a student security officer helping you prepare for your future career as a law enforcement professional?

“Well, noticing suspicious activity on campus and learning how to solve minor problems on the job is helping me prepare to be a police officer. I also communicate with our Dakota County Sheriff’s deputy on campus if something happens—and that’s a good learning experience.”
Brandon Rodriguez Oropeza
Law Enforcement Major
Student Security Officer
Inver Hills Community College

After his shift is over, Brandon emails an activity report to Tony Pangal, director of safety and security at Inver Hills and Dakota County Technical College. Tony noted that the student security officer position offers excellent experience for students pursuing careers in law enforcement and criminal justice.

“Brandon’s parents are immigrants from Mexico,” Tony said, “and he’s the first in his family to attend college. Deputy Martin from the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office and I have built a great relationship with Brandon, having daily interactions with him on the job. His mom has sent us homemade dinners and handwritten notes thanking us for taking their son under our wing.”

Tony also reported that Safety & Security is looking to add student security officers on both the Inver and DCTC campuses.

If you are interested in interviewing for the student security officer position, please contact:

Anthony Pangal
Director of Campus Safety and Security
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Office: 651-450-3545
DCTC Office: 651-423-8774

Safety & Security at Inver Hills

The Inver Hills Community College Public Safety department is responsible for providing a safe and secure atmosphere for all students, employees and visitors on all property owned, leased or occupied by Inver Hills.

Emergency Contacts

Medical/Fire/Police: Dial 911
Campus Police/Security: 651-450-3711

Non-Emergency Contacts

Escort Request: 651-450-3711
Health and Safety Officer: 651-450-3555
Campus Supervisor: 651-450-3343 or 3348

Safety Tip of the Month

January 2021: Cold Weather Tips

Emergency Notifications

Get time-sensitive emergency notifications from campus leaders and the Public Safety department, within minutes via phone calls, texts and/or emails.

Star Alert Emergency Notification System

StarAlert is Inver Hills Community College’s emergency notification system for students and employees. It delivers time-sensitive emergency notifications and updates to you from campus leaders and the Public Safety department, within minutes via phone calls, texts and/or emails.

All students and employees will receive StarAlert messages to their primary contact methods listed with the college.

To update or add additional contact information, create an account on the Blackboard Portal. Use your StarID to create an account for the first time.

Visit the Emergency Preparedness webpage

About the department

The Public Safety department enforces campus policies and the student code of conduct; and through mutual aid, assists with enforcement of local, state and federal laws. For additional security services, Public Safety also contracts with the local police department.


More about Brandon…

Originally from South St. Paul, Minnesota, Brandon graduated from South St. Paul High School, Class of 2019. Brandon’s family in the U.S. includes his dad, Marco Rodriguez, his mom, Angelina Oropeza, one sister, Ashley, 13, and one brother, Ronald, 16, along with three aunts, three uncles and seven cousins. Brandon’s dad works in construction; his mom stays at home to take care of Brandon’s brother and sister.

“In Mexico I have more aunts and uncles and cousins that I don’t even know,” Brandon added. “The only person that I know in Mexico is my Grandma Irene and the rest of my family from my dad’s side. I am planning to go to Mexico in December 2021.”

In his free time, Brandon likes spending time with his family and friends. His favorite hobbies are boxing and working out.

“I used to train with my cousin in kickboxing, which I loved,” he said. “I train at the gym my dad built for me in our house.”

Brandon resides with his family in South St. Paul.

Brandon work and family gallery

More about the Law Enforcement program at Inver Hills…

The Law Enforcement program prepares you for a career in law enforcement. As a program graduate, you will be qualified to take the Minnesota Peace Officers Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Board Licensing Examination.

The 68-credit Law Enforcement Transfer Pathway Associate of Science (A.S.) delivers courses that are part of the integrated A.S. degree offered by Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area community colleges.

Law Enforcement students must meet minimum selection standards under Minnesota Administrative Rules 6700.0700, Subpart 1., F. before they will be admitted into the Inver Hills Law Enforcement Professional Peace Officer Education (PPOE) program. According to the Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes, no student may be admitted to the PPOE program who has been convicted of any of the crimes listed in Minnesota Administrative Rules 6700.0700, Subpart 1., F.

The Law Enforcement Transfer Pathway A.S. offers you a powerful option: the opportunity to complete your degree with course credits that directly transfer with junior-year status to designated Law Enforcement bachelor’s degree programs at one of seven Minnesota State universities.¹

Law Enforcement Certificate

The Law Enforcement Curriculum Certification program prepares individuals who have already completed a bachelor’s degree or A.A./A.S. degree in any discipline for entry into the law enforcement profession in Minnesota.

Completion of this program enables you to enroll in the Professional Licensing Core. On successful completion of the certificate program and the Professional Licensing Core, you will be eligible to take the POST licensing examination, which is required to be hired as a police officer in Minnesota. State requirements to become a police officer include a college degree and a number of specific courses.


Brandon Rodriguez Oropeza Q & A

What do you like best about the Law Enforcement program?

I like how the coursework prepares you for your career, and then the job I have as a student security officer is helping as well. The other thing that I like is that we have good teachers who are willing to work with their students.

Why did you choose law enforcement as your future career?

I chose law enforcement as my career because my parents can only speak Spanish. They called the police once ,but they had trouble communicating with the police officer. The police officer was so nice; he tried to work with
my parents to understand what they were saying. That experience motivated me to pursue a law enforcement career.

I was born in the United States, and I know how to speak Spanish and English fluently. I want to help people like my parents who cannot speak English. I am happy my parents have supported my goal to be a police officer.

What advice would you give first-generation college students?

Well, college is not an easy thing. Homework and studying take a lot of time and dedication. Sometimes, I have to stay up all night doing an assignment.

Additional advice would be to not procrastinate with your assignments. I know we all have done it, even me, and procrastinating did not go well, but I got my assignment done.

The last advice I would give is get to know your teachers. Stop in during their office hours and ask your teachers questions about your assignments if you have trouble understanding something or stressing out about
something. Your teachers are there to help you pass and succeed.

What is the greatest challenge currently faced by law enforcement professionals in the United States?

Being able to approach and build a positive relationship with the community. After all, police officers are human, too, and I have met police officers and deputy sheriffs who are very kind and nice.

I work with Dakota County Sheriff’s Deputy Martin at Inver Hills Community College. I find him to be a very kind and approachable person. I was having trouble turning with an assignment on D2L Brightspace, and I went to his office and asked him for help. We both struggled with how to turn in my assignment because we had to convert it to a PDF, which I have never done. He was so kind and patient, and we got it submitted on time. I will always thank him for that.

Now, every day I stop by Deputy Martin’s office just to say hi and ask him how his day has been. On December 10, my dad called and told me that his license plates had been stolen, but he had different license plates from a different vehicle. Good thing Deputy Martin was here. I asked him what to do, and he helped me and my parents solve that problem by telling me what to do. My parents are very happy that I met Deputy Martin because he is a great person who has helped me and my family with any questions I have had in school and outside of school.

I really want to thank Deputy Martin for being here and helping the community and making a change in the way we view our law enforcement officers. I also wish to thank Tony Pangal, our director of campus safety and security, for guiding me toward the career I want in the future and pointing me toward the right people.

What have you learned about policing that you didn’t know before starting the Law Enforcement program?

What I have learned is being aware of your surroundings and how to communicate with law enforcement officers.

What is the greatest challenge facing your generation?

Our greatest challenge is COVID-19. The pandemic has everybody in online classes—and for me online coursework is stressful. We have to be social distance, and it does not feel like life is normal right now because of the virus.

The hard thing is that we don’t know how our body might react to the virus. Many people are dying because of COVID-19. I think that the hardest thing that our generation is going through.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Being with my siblings and my parents. I’m a police officer or detective and we are all U.S. citizens. I’m also hoping to have my own family in the future.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Brandon Rodriguez 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: My favorite sport is boxing.
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Mexico because I want to get to know the rest of my family that I have down there.
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Well, being involved in my cousin’s quinceañera; I’ve been involved in a lot of them, but that one was the most exciting, I think, because she is related, so I put more effort into it.²
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) I would buy a house 2) I would go to Mexico with my family 3) I would donate to children who have a disabilities
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: I don’t have one.
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Rambo: Last Blood
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Becoming a police officer
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Brown (golden) eagle
  9. Dream occupation: Becoming a detective
  10. Person you would most like to meet: My grandpas from my mom’s side and my
    dad’s side because they passed away, and I never got to meet them.

  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Emergency medical responder
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Civil unrest as a result of the
    incident that happened in Minneapolis and having the community coming back together and healing

Learn more about the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice programs at Inver Hills by contacting:

Leslie Palmer
Criminal Justice Faculty

Admissions Team
College Center

Learn more about Safety & Security at Inver Hills and DCTC by contacting:

Anthony Pangal
Director of Campus Safety and Security
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College
Inver Hills Office: 651-450-3545
DCTC Office: 651-423-8774

¹ With this transfer pathway, you will be able to transfer to the following majors at:
Bemidji State University: Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement Emphasis: B.S
Metropolitan State University: Law Enforcement: B.S
Minnesota State University Mankato: Law Enforcement: B.S
Minnesota State University Moorhead: Criminal Justice: B.A
Southwest Minnesota State University: Law Enforcement Administration: B.A.S.
St. Cloud State University: Criminal Justice, 21st Century Policing Emphasis: B.A.
Winona State University: Sociology: Criminal Justice: B.S.
² Wikipedia: The fiesta de quince años is a celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday. The event has its cultural roots in Mexico and is widely celebrated today throughout the Americas. The girl celebrating her 15th birthday is a quinceañera.

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