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UCPD's Lisa Campbell and Ally Jacobs get their 15 minutes on Oprah

| 12 October 2009

Ally Jacobs and Lisa Campbell, the two UC Berkeley police employees whose vigilance led to the arrest of suspected kidnapper Phillip Garrido in August, will appear on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 13). The program airs locally at 4 p.m. on KGO-TV, channel 7. Jacobs' and Campbell's intuitive police work led to the return of Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was kidnapped from her South Tahoe home in 1991 at age 11.

Campbell, manager of UCPD's special-events unit, first encountered Garrido on Aug. 24, when he came to the Berkeley campus seeking permission to hold an event relating to a group called "God's Desire." Garrido's odd manner, coupled with the "sullen and submissive" demeanor of the two girls accompanying him, made Campbell suspicious.

She made an appointment with Garrido for the next afternoon. In the meantime, Officer Jacobs ran a background check and discovered Garrido was a registered sex offender on federal parole for kidnapping and rape. A call to his parole officer in Concord led to Garrido's arrest and the rescue of Dugard and the girls.

Campbell is a Chicago native whose mother worked Winfrey's security detail when Winfrey first arrived in the Midwest to host "AM Chicago" in the mid-1980s. Campbell herself worked with many celebrities as a bodyguard in Hollywood. Meeting Winfrey, though, was a special thrill. The entertainment giant is a "shero," Campbell says. "She has dedicated her life to sharing her gifts and talent, and changing one consciousness at a time."

The two UCPD employees flew to Chicago to tape the program last week and got the royal treatment. Like all the show's guests, they stayed in the Omni Hotel's deluxe accommodations and rode to the studio in a limousine. Jacobs brought her sons, age 4 and 6, who, she says, thought the whole experience was "the coolest thing in the world."

Once the UCPD staffers arrived at the studio, Winfrey's hair and makeup staff ensured they were ready for the TV cameras. "When we've done other interviews, our faces got a quick powder to take off the shine," says Jacobs. In Chicago, the preparation was of another order altogether. "We looked good," says Jacobs, who normally eschews makeup. "I didn't wash it off until that night."

The UCPD staffers didn't meet Winfrey until they walked on the stage. There was no initial greeting or banter; Oprah was all business before the tape rolled. Campbell and Jacobs retold their story, which led in to the show's subject, child-abduction cold cases.

For Campbell, it was "really cool to be in the presence of someone who has chosen to do good on a day-to-day basis." Jacobs calls the experience "surreal. I was sitting right next to Oprah and felt like I was watching her on TV. I had to tell myself that to not freak out."