It’s pretty safe to say that we are not 100 percent confident in our school’s police staff and that is quite sad. It’s not that students don’t want to trust police officers – especially the ones that ensure that the campus we attend is safe. It’s simply because there are too many problems and too many difficulties that make us weary.
We have all heard the stories of our friends and peers getting arrested, being kicked out of a building or having a police officer invade their personal space. Every single time, we must automatically assume that the police officer is right. Unfortunately, we never hear the students’ side. Then after just a couple weeks, when another student has yet another incident with another officer, the situation is never heard of again. This process happens over and over.
Clearly, there are some big problems with our campus police and it goes well beyond what any student did or was accused of. These problems make us truly question what our police officers really do. All we can say is that they write tickets, drive around our campus, and park next to one another to chat for long periods of time. However, there is one thing we can say that they do better than anyone – give students the runaround.
The first problem is that they don’t utilize their security cameras. There are cameras in some of our buildings to ensure safety and, in essence, reduce crime. Yet, the cameras aren’t being fully utilized. Students that would need the footage to prove a theft or a specific problem would often get the run-around and end up spending so much time talking to one person that directs them to another person that they would grow frustrated and forget about the problem.
The second problem is that they don’t frequently update the campus crime log. The campus crime log that is supposed to be updated daily was neglected for almost a month. So those proactive students that want to remain safe are left in the dark about the crimes that occur on campus. This is completely inconsiderate to the students.
The last problem is that we never hear from them. The campus police should be more proactive in what students can do to ensure safety. Simple things, such as informing students about the panic buttons on campus or the proper thing to do when being robbed, would be very beneficial. Though we do have self-defense programs such as Green Dot, and Western Activities Council and the Center for Student Engagement have done a great job in hosting events that discuss student safety, the funny thing is that these events are never held by officers nor do the officers ever vocally contribute to them. Discussing student safety shouldn’t have to be WAC or CSE’s responsibility. It should be done by the police officers. They are police officers, not standing security guards that don’t move unless they specifically have to. It’s time they start acting like it.
After tragic events took place at places like Sandy Hook, Columbine and Virginia Tech, it is more important than ever to make sure our campus is safe. It’s time we stop discussing small incidents and look at the big picture. What do our police officers do? Do they really protect and serve or do they just look the part?