From left to right: CORE Officers Jena Du ’15, Tabbasum Malik ’19 with K-9 Charlie, and Ricky Lee ’16.
From left to right: CORE Officers Jena Du ’15, Tabbasum Malik ’19 with K-9 Charlie, and Ricky Lee ’16.

Alumni officers strengthen safety and community at UC Davis

Meet three alumni who’ve returned to campus to serve in the CORE Officer Program and help build a safe and supportive community for all Aggies: Jena Du ’15, Tabbasum Malik ’19 and Ricky Lee ’16. 

The CORE Officer outreach and engagement program provides an informal way for UC Davis students and staff to interact with the UC Davis Police Department. These non-uniformed officers help answer questions and concerns, advise on a range of law enforcement issues, and connect people with resources they may need.

Jena Du: building bridges with the community

The longest-serving CORE Officer, Du stepped into a role devoted to listening to her Aggie community. 

“Repeatedly I’ve had people tell me ‘I’m just glad I could talk to somebody and have my concerns heard,’” she said of her new role.   

Du says this position is very different than that of traditional police patrol. Usually when on patrol, officers do not have the time to have a lengthy conversation with members of their community.  

“With CORE I can take 30 minutes to answer those questions. We want to have an open door for people,” she said.

Du came to UC Davis as a political science major, planning to be a lawyer because of an interest in law. Du then joined the Aggie Host program, where she found she loved working with the campus police department.

After graduating, Du trained at the police academy and returned to campus as an officer with the UC Davis Police Department. She served three years at the UC Davis main campus and two years at UC Davis Health in Sacramento before joining the CORE Officer program.

In her position, she enjoys having conversations with members of the community and answering any questions someone may have.

Tabbasum Malik: giving back to campus

Being a CORE Officer has given Officer Tabbasum Malik the chance to give back to the university that helped shape him into the person he is today.

Malik’s father immigrated to the United States from Pakistan in 2005. His father worked at a Davis gas station and every day a UC Davis police officer would stop by to ensure he was doing okay. This small gesture of kindness helped Malik's father feel welcome in the Davis community.

When Malik later joined his father in Davis as an elementary school student, he was inspired by his interactions with UC Davis in afterschool programs and had no doubt where he wanted to attend college.

As a student he joined the UC Davis Cadet Academy and served as an Aggie Host, eventually joining the Sacramento Police Academy while simultaneously finishing up his degree. 

You’ll find him on campus with retired K-9, Charlie, always ready to have a conversation and break down barriers.  

“I want students to know that I am just like them. I am a person too, and I may not have the answers for everyone, but I know people who do,” said Malik. “I will be here to help anyone and everyone in this community.”

Ricky Lee: helping Aggies feel safe

As one of the newest CORE Officers, Lee says he enjoys the opportunity to interact with students from an understanding point of view.

Lee first came to UC Davis to remain close to his Sacramento home and majored in psychology with the hopes of becoming a researcher. His plans changed when he learned about career paths in law enforcement.

He hopes students will seek his advice when facing difficult circumstances such as dealing with fraudulent activity and theft or when they just want to talk to someone who has been in their shoes.

“College was the first time I had the opportunity to really feel like I was able to choose the direction my life was going, and that was important to me,” Lee said. “I hope other Aggies share that same feeling.” 

There are many times when students do not know all the programs UC Davis offers such as free tutoring services and other support networks; Officer Lee wants to give these insights to those students as they navigate their education at UC Davis.   

Story adapted from articles at the UC Davis Police Department website