Campus police lost one of their own, 44-year-old Robert “Bob” Mesec the afternoon of Sept. 16 in a motorcycle crash in Pennsylvania. Lt. Mesec worked with the campus police department for 21 years and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in November 2008.
There was a strong sense of absence in the office, with awkward small talk filling the space of the office waiting area. Understandably, discussing the recent tragedy was difficult for both University Police Chief Patrick Rascoe and Detective Seth Silver.
After the crash that Thursday, phone calls went out and University Police workers were notified.
“The majority of us came here to the station just not really knowing what we are supposed to do. We were all just looking around like, ‘OK, what do we do now?’” Silver said.
Detective Silver had worked with Lt. Mesec since Mesec joined the force in 2000.
“It’s been a tough week here,” Silver said. “We are all just going through stages of disbelief, belief [and] grief.”
Having worked for Plattsburgh City Police in the past, Chief Rascoe frequently looked to Mesec as someone who knew the campus and could provide previously unthought of insight.
“He was a sounding board for me,” Rascoe said.
Detective Silver recalled how he was able to watch Mesec grow into someone naturally talented with kids.
“When he started he never liked kids,” Silver said.
When the detective would bring in his kids and they would see the Lieutenant, Mesec would “scurry” away.
“It was really nice watching over the years when he became close with his daughter. You could see the transformation to being a guy who kids are just drawn to,” Silver said.
Other enforcement agencies have stopped in to check in on the police station.
“The city police have been phenomenal stopping by daily, just checking on us,” said Silver. When people ask what they need, their response is “we don’t even know.”
Lizzie Wahab, the vice president of Enrollment & Student Success, said “This passing of one of our own who was so intricately connected to our College caused us all a significant blow, we are standing with the family of the Officer and my office is lending 24/7 support to our staff at this time.”
“We’ve all been a part of law enforcement funerals,” Silver said. “But we’ve never had to plan one of our own.”