Newest additions to campus police settle in
One grew up on a farm in Arkansas while the other spent his childhood in Pennsylvania’s second-largest city, but both of OCCC’s newest police officers have called Oklahoma home for a number of years.
Daniel Piazza and Ronald Ventresca both said they chose a career in law enforcement early in life.
Piazza, 41, grew up on a farm near Fayetteville.
“Basically, if I wasn’t in school, I was back at the farm working,” Piazza said. “I did play sports, but I was mostly dedicated to working on the farm.”
After graduating from Lincoln High School in Fayetteville, Piazza came to Oklahoma to attend Redlands Community College in El Reno, majoring in criminal justice.
“I knew in fifth grade that I wanted to be a police officer,” he said. “As a child … I always looked up to them — how they carried themselves, the respect people gave them, the interaction I had with them.
“They were always very professional and they seemed to really enjoy what they were doing.”
Piazza went on to be a police officer in Hood County, Texas, and then transferred to the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office where he had been working as major of operations for the past 12 years before coming to OCCC.
One motivation was to have more family time.
“(My job at Cleveland County) was extremely time consuming,” Piazza said.
“I’m married and have three kids, a boy and two girls. And I would say the majority of my time was devoted to work and not to them.”
When Piazza saw an opening in the OCCC Police Department, he said he came to campus and looked around. Once he got inside, he said he noticed everyone, the students, faculty and staff, were all positive and that attracted him.
“I liked the atmosphere here, so that’s when I knew it was time for a change,” Piazza said.
Ventresca, 57, grew up in Pittsburg.
“I wanted to be a police officer because I wasn’t interested in working in an office, being confined like that,” Ventresca said. “I didn’t want to do the same thing every day.”
After graduating high school, he went to California for college and decided to stay awhile.
“That’s where I started my law enforcement career,” Ventresca said. “Then I got married, left there and came to Oklahoma in 1989.”
When Ventresca heard that his deputy chief was leaving the Luther Police Department, he said he decided it was time for him to make a change.
“OCCC has better pay, better working conditions and it’s a better opportunity,” Ventresca said.
One thing that is evident to both police officers is that the department is oriented toward serving the campus community.
“We’re here to help,” Piazza said. “I mean obviously we do things people may not like, but we’re here to give you a safe environment.
“Truly, 100 percent of our focus is to take care of the students, visitors and the staff here.”
To contact the police department, call 405-682-7872.