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By: Cora Dunnwald
Officer Anthony Greiter is the mind behind Iowa State Police Department’s social media platforms. The Twitter page is the most popular of the platforms and has amassed over 40,000 followers. However, there’s more to Greiter than his humorous wit and social media posts.
Greiter’s official position at the ISU Police Department is the Community Outreach Specialist. The position didn’t even exist before Greiter joined. He got the idea from one of his friends that was working for the Panchero’s social media. “I thought, if he could do it for a burrito, why can’t I do it for the police?” Greiter said. He pitched the idea numerous times before it was accepted. According to Greiter there were a lot of doubts about starting a serious social media platform for the ISU police. “They said that if it didn’t work it would be my job on the line.” Greiter said. Eventually his idea was picked up, and Griter was chosen to lead the project.
There is always a small hum of conversation in the building that houses Greiter and other officer’s offices. All the officers seemed to enjoy each other’s company, as they joked about what they were going to eat for lunch or who was buying the next coffee. Greiter works alongside Dustin King, a fellow police officer for ISU. “Yeah, he’s definitely a cool guy; easy to work with,” King said. “but now he owes me a drink.” King explained there’s a comradery between all the employees in the office.
The ISU Police Department’s Twitter page is most known for its ‘sassy’ posts. “That is definitely my personality,” he said. “I’m really sarcastic and sassy…any ‘S’ word I think may describe me.” From his hatred of candy corn to the distaste of the 49rs, he lets his personality onto the platform. Emily Klein is one of the many fans of the ISU PD’s Twitter page. “I love the posts that are low key attacking people,” she said. Klein was referencing a tweet criticizing the skills of winter drivers, or in this case the lack thereof. James McNaughton, yet another fan, says the Twitter page is, “The best account ever.”
Greiter is aware that while most like the content he puts out, other people don’t. However, Greiter stands by his quote, “think twice, tweet once.” He even has a sticky note on his monitor screen to remind him. “I never delete anything, I don’t believe in it,” he said. Greiter believes that people have the right to be offended and carry opinions, but he isn’t ever going to take back something he said. “If I have to issue an apology I will, but luckily, so far I haven’t.”
Greiter said he spends a lot of time on work. “What even is free time?” he said, as he laughed. Between teaching classes, speaking at events, policing and running the social media, Greiter doesn’t find very much time for himself. He said the social media aspect takes up most of his time. “People have started expecting us to be available 24 hours a day on social media…then I try to make myself available all the time,” Greiter said. “It has definitely impacted my own social life.”
When work time is officially over, the first thing Greiter says he does is grab something to eat. “A bag of Rold Gold Pretzels? That bag will be gone by the end of the night.“ Greiter said he’s constantly eating, and even asked for a restaurant recommendation for lunch after his interview. After the food, he places importance on removing all of his gear. “When I take off the uniform, I step out of work mode,” Greiter said. He places importance on leaving work at work, and spending quality time with his family.
At home, Greiter has three kids whom he started fostering in the past seven months. He and his wife of five years take care of them, along with their two dogs and a cat. Greiter put a lot of emphasis on family. “Family dinners are important to me,” he said. Greiter explains the family eats dinner together at least six days a week. “It also helps put a form of stability in their (the kids) lives.” He puts a lot of effort in assuring a positive experience in life for his kids, going out of his way to better their lives. Greiter said that their oldest ‘kiddo,’ as he calls them, had a special connection with his old cat. When the cat died, Greiter was determined to find another one soon to help fill the void it may have left. “I didn’t want to add to the trauma they already have,” he explained. “I want their lives to be as good as possible.”
Greiter described his ultimate dream of owning a house the size of a hotel and taking in anyone who needed help. He also said he’d foster all the dogs, too. Greiter says his desire to always help probably impacted his decision to be a police officer.
While Greiter feels his caring nature led him to his career path, his personality isn’t the only thing that led him to the ISU Police. “I actually grew up hating law enforcement,” Greiter said. He grew up in an area where the culture was to hate the police, even though he was from a ‘privileged’ area. “We were all white, mostly male, we were just the most privileged group of people, but we still hated the cops.” he said.
Greiter recounted a time in his life where he was drinking a lot. He was abroad at the time, and when he came back to ISU, he grew concerned. Greiter wasn’t worried about the underage drinking, but more so his lack of money to fund his habit. “Taking 911 calls was the highest paying job on campus,” he said. “I thought, who better to fund my underage drinking than the police, but none of my paychecks went to alcohol.” Greiter gained enormous respect for the ISU Police through his first job with them. It was this that eventually led him to the position he is in today. “I applied here (Iowa State), Ames PD and in Colorado, but I really wanted ISU,” he said.
Greiter feels passionately about the topic of sexual assault, and this is also sparked by his first job with dispatch calls. “The second call I ever took was dealing with sexual assault. It made everything real for me. College became real.” Greiter said. This call has impacted his life and the goals he sets for himself.
Something Greiter is excited about is a campaign he is currently running. He calls it, ‘Start by Believing’. “The first thing they need is for you to say, I’m sorry that happened to you. They need you to believe,” he explained. The goal of his campaign is to educate others on how to respond when someone comes forward with their experience. Startbybelieving.org explains that a negative response can worsen the trauma and foster unhealthy environments. Greiter feels so strongly for this cause, he even dyed his hair teal to support sexual assault awareness.
The organization aims to spread awareness on the lesser reporting of sexual assault, as well as giving victims resources to deal with their pain. The main website urges professionals and law enforcement to just believe in a victim when they say they’ve been hurt. You can donate or make a pledge at https://www.startbybelieving.org/home/