Lt. Joan Fiesta with the mascot from the County Club Hills, Illinois, Police Department mascot. The two met at a benefit for Park Forest Police Officer Timothy Jones, who was critically wounded in a shooting in March 2016.
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We had 11 questions for Lt. Joan Fiesta in our ongoing series to get up close and personal with Division of Public Safety employees:
How long have you worked for UIPD?
Since 1991. I started as a quiet Student Patrol Officer then as a sworn officer in 1993.
What is one thing that makes you different?
I play Québécois fiddle. I guess that is different.
What is something you’d like to see changed on campus or in the community?
I want a mascot named Ghost. He is grey, is a horse, and gallops. At least in my mind he is. I love mascots. I have tried to get pictures with them at all sporting events I attend.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Champaign-Urbana?
What’s one of your funniest or fondest memories as a UIPD officer?
I was brand spanking new, and I got called to an injured goose in front of the Union. Some very earthy folks noticed he had a band on his foot and thought he might belong to someone. The goose was friendly and let me put him in the back of a squad to take to the vet clinic. A nice family in a station wagon pulled up next to me and the kids started waving. I waved back — and so did the goose. He started flapping and honking in the back of the police car. The friendly family looked horrified. Then I got him to the vet clinic. Yeah... His migration was being tracked by the wildlife clinic there. I don't think they wanted him brought back in a police car.
If given the chance, who would you choose to be for a day?
Eh, I guess it would be awesome to be an archaeologist on a dig. Or Clark the Cub on a chilly spring day at Wrigley. Did I mention I like mascots?
What is your motto in life?
Work hard. Love life.
You have once and a lifetime front-row tickets and a backstage pass to meet a recording artist...who would it be?
I have met my favorite fiddlers and taken lessons from some, so I am not terribly wanting in this aspect. I tried to sneak backstage once in Madison, Wisconsin, so my mom could meet Joan Baez (I am named after her). I was in, but my mom chickened out. Ask me about sports folks and I have a few: Anthony Rizzo, Jonathan Toews, Peanut Tillman, Artemi Panarin, Serena Williams.
If money doesn’t grow on trees, why do banks have branches?
Dunno. Why do homing geese find their way home in a police car?
If a fork were made of gold, would it still be considered silverware?
Au-boy. This is kind of hard. Ag. Not sure I can answer this.
What’s something you would like to tell students?
Don't let college get you down, but treat the college years with respect. It is a privilege to attend. It is four years out of your life. Learn as much as you can, learn to take care of one another, find a place to serve your community and make true connections. Let this be a period of meaningful joy that is about discovery and growth. There is a whole life beyond and this is but a mere stepping stone to it.