Like father, like son

Proud fath­er: Bri­an (left) smiles with his fath­er Joe McBride. Bri­an will soon gradu­ate from Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity with a de­gree in crim­in­al justice. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHO­TOS

When a Mas­sachu­setts In­sti­tute of Tech­no­logy po­lice of­ficer was shot to death, al­legedly by the Bo­ston Mara­thon bombers, Joe and Bri­an McBride could re­late.

“It was very sober­ing. It hit home,” said Joe McBride, dir­ect­or of pub­lic safety at Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity.

McBride, who sent con­dol­ences to MIT Po­lice Chief John Di­Fava, heads a 38-man force. If a ser­i­ous in­cid­ent happened at the cam­pus, he’d be in dir­ect com­mu­nic­a­tions with the po­lice de­part­ment be­cause he knows the cam­pus so well.

“You’re re­spons­ible for a lot of lives in a small area,” he said.

Bri­an McBride, his son, is a Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment lieu­ten­ant, as­signed to the 18th dis­trict, home of the Uni­versity of Pennsylvania, Drexel Uni­versity and the Uni­versity of the Sci­ences. He de­scribes the area as a “tar­get-rich en­vir­on­ment,” not­ing that it’s home to haves and have-nots.

The 18th works with the po­lice de­part­ments at Penn and Drexel and the se­cur­ity force at Uni­versity of the Sci­ences, and McBride said it can be a dan­ger­ous job for all of them. He guesses that they are a little more on alert fol­low­ing the April 18 as­sas­sin­a­tion of MIT cop Sean Col­li­er.

McBride re­lies on the uni­versity of­ficers when 18th dis­trict po­lice an­swer a call.

“Who knows the school cam­pus more than the people who patrol it every day,” he said.

While Joe McBride has been Holy Fam­ily’s pub­lic safety dir­ect­or for sev­en years, his son also has ties to the uni­versity. On Sat­urday, he’ll be gradu­at­ing with a de­gree in crim­in­al justice.

McBride’s wife, two teen­age sons, par­ents, broth­er and sis­ter will be in at­tend­ance at the Academy of Mu­sic when he gradu­ates. His dad will be work­ing, provid­ing se­cur­ity for uni­versity pres­id­ent Sis­ter Francesca On­ley, the board of trust­ees, ad­min­is­tra­tion and fac­ulty.

The young­er McBride took courses at the uni­versity’s Wood­haven cam­pus and be­lieves he’ll be able to use what he learned in the classroom to the job.

“I’m ex­cited about gradu­at­ing,” he said.

Joe McBride also has a de­gree in crim­in­al justice, but his is from Chest­nut Hill Col­lege. He went back to school at age 50, start­ing at Com­munity Col­lege of Phil­adelphia.

The men share something else — a spark­ling 3.89 grade point av­er­age.

Bri­an, a mar­ried fath­er of two, earned mostly A’s des­pite hold­ing a full-time job, hav­ing fam­ily ob­lig­a­tions and not step­ping foot in a classroom for more than 25 years.

“I’m very proud of him,” his dad said. “It’s a good ac­com­plish­ment.”

Joe McBride, 65, op­er­ated McBride’s Pub, at 26th and Mor­ris streets in Grays Ferry, and later spent sev­en years as dir­ect­or of pub­lic safety at Har­cum Col­lege in Bryn Mawr. He lives with his wife Mari­anne, a shuttle driver for Holy Fam­ily, in North Cape May, N.J.

Pre­vi­ously, he spent 17 years with the po­lice de­part­ment, mostly in West and South Phil­adelphia, re­tir­ing as a ser­geant.

“I have a Ph.D in the streets,” he joked.

Bri­an, 45, who lives in South Phil­adelphia, gradu­ated from St. John Neu­mann High School in 1985 and spent a semester at Temple.

“I prom­ised my­self I would go back when I left Temple in ‘85,” he said.

His col­lege de­gree will add a point to his total score if he seeks a pro­mo­tion to cap­tain.

Be­fore join­ing the po­lice de­part­ment, he worked for the Pennsylvania Li­quor Con­trol Board for eight years. His po­lice academy gradu­ation took place in 1995 in the White House Rose Garden.

Bri­an was able to trans­fer 51 po­lice academy cred­its to Holy Fam­ily, where he star­ted in Janu­ary 2011. He needed 123 cred­its to gradu­ate and fin­ished with 129. He took time off only for trips to Flor­ida and Ire­land.

Classes met from 6 to 10 p.m., but much of the work was on his own.

“It was chal­len­ging, but you can get it done fairly quickly,” he said of gradu­at­ing in two and a half years as a night stu­dent. “You have to be pretty ded­ic­ated to do it.” ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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