One Saturday Night With the Po-Po

Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) officers really know how to party on a Saturday night. Their music: the unintelligible buzzing of the police scanner. Their scene: the gritty, seedy nooks and crannies of the campus. FM was granted a tour of the College’s sordid underbelly—deserted back allies, dimly lit parking lots, the Malkin Athletic Center (MAC) showers—and this time, we sat in the front of the police car. The police log will never be the same. A minute-by-minute analysis:

8:14 p.m.: FM’s escort, officer Steven Fumicello, arrives fashionably late. A shaved head, an effortless smile—and a North Shore accent to boot—greet us. “Have you ever done one of these before?” he asks. FM, regrettably, is a virgin.

8:38 p.m.: Fumicello does a quick run through the MAC. “You never know what you’ll find,” he explains. The two young receptionists eye this FM reporter, who is feverishly taking down notes and has forgotten to show ID, suspiciously. “He’s with me,” the officer says with a chuckle.

8:53 p.m.: Wielding a flashlight, Fumicello creeps into a darkened alley alongside Claverly Hall. A chain-link fence surrounds the construction site of the old Hasty Pudding theatre. Ominous shadows shroud a grimy, uneven pathway. The graffiti that adorns a sullied white wall reads: “rock bottom.” Indeed.

9:21 p.m.: A preppily-dressed student scales Lowell House’s gates and is caught by Fumicello midway. The student diverts eye contact and plays it off coolly. “Did you just go over the fence?” Fumicello asks. The student replies in the affirmative nonchalantly. “All right,” Fumicello says, “just be careful.”

10:05 p.m.: Fumicello flips on the sirens—what a show-off—and intercepts a couple driving down the wrong side of a one-way street. The driver—a bewildered blonde—apologizes. She is not from here (license plate reads Maine) and is completely lost. Fumicello assists in directing her out of harm’s way. He, as an HUPD officer, has no authority to write ticket violations anyway.

10:18 p.m.: FM has overstayed its welcome. At least we got a free ride home. It’s about forty more minutes of late-night gallivanting for Officer Fumicello and then it’s time to head home—his two terriers await him. But for FM, the night is young, although our late night with the police has come to an end (hopefully).