Responsible for a ‘City’ of Duke Employees, Students

Jim Bjurstrom oversees Duke police and security officers who respond to calls

Major Jim Bjurstrom, operations commander with the Duke University Police Department (pictured in uniform), socializes at DUPD's annual awards ceremony at the Nasher Museum of Art last year. Photo courtesy of Jim Bjurstrom
Major Jim Bjurstrom, operations commander with the Duke University Police Department (pictured in uniform), socializes at DUPD's annual awards ceremony at the Nasher Museum of Art last year. Photo courtesy of Jim Bjurstrom

Name: Major Jim BjurstromPosition: Operations commander, Duke University Police DepartmentYears at Duke: 3What I do at Duke: I am basically responsible for the security and patrol operations on campus and at the hospital. This includes patrol and security responses to calls 24/7 on campus and at the hospitals, planning and operations at large events (sporting events, as well as all other events on campus) throughout the year, monitoring of weather, patrol assignments, and personnel issues involving Police Department personnel.My first ever job: I tested construction materials. We tested the strength of concrete, so when they pour concrete on the roads, you would go out and you would bore a hole and collect concrete and take it back and they had machines that you could test it on. I was in high school, 17. My dream job: I think I’m in it, because there’s no routine.  You never know what you’re stepping into. It can be stressful, but it makes it fun. The best advice I ever received: Just growing up and watching my dad, he didn’t have a lot to say but you could always just watch him and know he did the right thing, so he led by example, and I always think it’s important to lead by example. In every job he did, he was a perfectionist. What I love about Duke: There’s a possibility that during the day you could walk by someone who just saved someone’s life, or you could walk by someone who just won the Nobel Peace Prize, you can walk by a student who someday they’re president of the United States. It’s just kind of cool, the diversity and the opportunities that you get walking around.If I could have one superpower, it would be: To have everyone recognize how good they have it. Your life isn’t that bad, that life is really good. Something most people don’t know about me: My wife and I are both retired deputy chiefs from Durham Police Department. That’s kind of a weird dynamic. She retired just last year. Another thing is my middle daughter had open heart surgery at Duke when she was a baby, a week old. She’s doing great. I am indebted to Duke, and I appreciate the many prayers that are answered here every day. An interesting/memorable day at work for me: The satisfaction I’ve gotten when I’ve seen an officer get promoted. When we see the success in encouraging others, it’s a good thing. A Book I like: I just got done reading one. I liked it so much I bought it for all my supervisors. “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout.” I was at a seminar at my church and they started talking about it. It’s pretty much about being nice to people and treating them fairly and working hard, being good at what you do.  A pet peeve: Dishonesty. Just tell the truth, and you’ll be in less trouble.