Bill Bridges has dedicated his life to serving others. An accomplished first responder, he currently works as a campus police officer at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood, a position he has held since 2009.
His role at STLCC follows an illustrious career in which he ascended the ranks of law enforcement, worked as a firefighter and served his country during the Vietnam War.
William Ozmec, lieutenant at STLCC, described Bridges’ work ethic as, “second to none.”
“While many people choose to spend their retirement years relaxing, that’s not Bill’s style,” Ozmec said. “Bill is a dedicated officer with extensive knowledge and expertise. We value the contributions he makes to our campus community each day.”
Bridges’ career trajectory is directly linked to a decision he made as a young man.
Service to Country
The year was 1965. The war in Vietnam was escalating and Bridges felt compelled to take action. Rather than wait to see if he would be drafted, he chose to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. That decision ultimately laid the foundation for a career of service; and one that continues more than five decades later.
“At the time, I was looking for a higher challenge,” he said. “During my four years in the Marines, I saw a lot of action; but thankfully, by the grace of God, I was saved.”
Service to Community
When his military contract ended and he returned home, Bridges did what a lot of ex-service members do. He sought work in public safety.
Bridges spent two years in Shrewsbury on the police and fire departments before serving seven years in Richmond Heights as a firefighter. In 1978, he joined the City of Des Peres Police Department.
In the 30 years that followed, Bridges ascended the ranks, earning a number of accolades along the way. Most notably, he won three medals for powerlifting in the U.S. Police and Fire Championships, an Olympic-style competition, and was named to the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis. In 1996, he was promoted to the department’s highest rank — the director of public safety.
As chief, Bridges had the unique opportunity to complete the FBI National Academy. This prestigious leadership program aims to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies at home and abroad.
Career in Retrospect
Looking back on his career, Bridges feels fortunate to have spent his life’s work helping others.
“It’s a privilege to serve others,” Bridges said. “It’s always a good day when you can do something good for somebody else.”
When Bridges retired as chief of Des Peres, he knew he wanted to stay active. His work ethic and desire to serve others led him to join STLCC’s Police Department.
“Working at STLCC-Wildwood has been a good fit for me. The staff are nice and the students are among the best I’ve met,” he said. “When you meet students who are in college because they want to get ahead and create a better life for themselves, it restores your faith in people and gives you hope for the future.”