February 25th, students and Department of Public Safety officers had a productive discussion on campus safety. All but one of the officers (left to monitor cameras / man the office) showed out to listen to concerns raised by students. Chief Muravchick prefaced the discussion by stating his view of what the goals of DPS, the two most important being safety and campus involvement.
As far as concerned raised by students, below is a list of issues as well as DPS responses for everyone to glance through:
Q: How is DPS handling parking (specifically Bourbon St. and Hazelrigg)?
A: Increased patrols, as well as lighting and cameras. An emergency phone has been installed in the Bourbon St. lot. Kentucky Utilities has been working to not only light up Bourbon St. but also Fourth St. were many students also park. Common sense needs to be used as well to help prevent break ins: don’t leave valuables in sight, lock the doors, and if you’re uncomfortable, call DPS. On that note: ***They would rather have too many calls than none. They are there for our safety and increased safety.***
As far as Hazelrigg goes, DPS is striving for consistency / fair monitoring. Since there isn’t a clear demarkation, if you seen an issue, call. The problem comes from the fact that visitors for events in MFA will park there and not know better. It’s just very difficult to monitor until DPS can clearly mark which spots are reserved.
Q: There have been complaints about consistency about enforcing policy from officer to officer, how are you addressing that?
A: While DPS is a service and does maintain a professional attitude, responses will differ because of personalities. That is something that can’t be avoided. But a general consistency is enforced. If students feel as if they have been treated unfairly, contact DPS and they will look into the issue. There are progressive types of discipline for issues like this such as counseling and retraining.
Q: As far as crossing Broadway, how can that be made safer?
A: Well, the state doesn’t really want us crossing since it’s a state highway. Options for both creating a crossing above the road isn’t possible because of cost and an underground tunnel interferes with the city’s water system. For now, just make sure you are curtsy to drivers. And pay attention. Don’t cross with headphones in because you can’t hear cars approaching that might not see you.
Q: How is DPS helping to prevent sexual assault on campus?
A: Right now, there is another training with Title IX happening. There is also a partnership with the Green Dot Program to help educate not only students but faculty and staff as well. Discussion of community education has also occurred. But if DPS doesn’t know about it, they can’t help. Open lines of communication are essential when it comes to this. Don’t forget that Medical Amnesty is honored. A person’s life is what matters in the end. The victim can report the incident and decide how far to allow the investigation to go. They are in control and can call off the investigation at any time or decide not to press charges.
Q: Are the video cameras around campus monitored constantly? Also, could you comment on the burglary over winter break?
A: Realistically, no. There are 120 cameras, some move while some are stationary. But it’s impossible to monitor all the streams. Officers look for activity and pay closer attention to those. If a complaint is filed, footage will be used for follow up investigations. As far as the burglary goes, DPS is looking into getting more lighting to make it easy for patrolling officers to see. There will be safety chains and window locks installed to help prevent future incidents. Students NEED to report odd situations – better safe than sorry. A couple tips to avoid these sort of things from happening to you: lock doors, keep lights on, close blinds, have some kind of white noise, and don’t post on any sort of social media when you are going out of town.
Q: How can students help DPS around campus?
A: Help yourself. Be smart with your decisions. Like the tips provided in the parking section, make sure to use common sense: don’t walk alone at night, always tell people where you are going, charge your phone before a night out, etc. And call DPS. If you are concerned at all about your safety, call. You’re not bothering them because that’s their job.
Thanks to everyone who came to engage in the forum.
Remember, DPS and all Campus Safety Staff are here to help you. If you have any questions or wish to file a complaint / incident, contact the DPS office, Chief, or Ashley Gutshall.