Safety is more than a number or statistic. It’s a word filled with emotion. It’s built from the feeling of being protected, a condition from being left out of harm’s way.
For most college students, safety on campus is a priority. Without safety, there’s an underlying fear, anxiousness and nervousness.
Beyond the Wichita State University Police Department of 30 commissioned officers and 18 support staff members, WSUPD offers many other resources for students to utilize across campus. There are over 40 emergency call box locations and over 200 cameras in operation at all times. Students are also able to use the RAVE Guardian safety app. The app is free to download and comes with other features such as instant help through push buttons, confidential conversations and targeted notifications to the community. WSUPD also offers police escorts throughout campus property.
At Wichita State University, the campus UPD works hard to ensure campus is safe. Recently, the Wichita State Police Department was named one of the Top 25 programs in the country for its focus on safety. Of the 25, WSU placed No. 16 on the list.
While achieving that position is a win, Officer Corey Herl still feels there is room for improvement to move higher on the list.
“The more we can grow and be part of this community, the better our ability to make a difference in the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors to this great campus,” said Hurl.
Creating a safe environment isn’t a one-person job. It starts with having a safe community. Outside of the campus blueprint, WSUPD is part of the Wichita North Sector Police Department’s footprint. Officers involve themselves on and off campus, which strengthens the ties between the police department and the community.
“A safe campus starts with the community where everyone has safety top of mind,” said Rodney Clark, chief of the WSU PD.
On campus, positive experiences begin with feeling a sense of security. Over the past few years, officers on campus have had a track record of attending events, town halls, student activities and hosting various outreach events to partner with students and the campus. Through these events, students start to see officers as more approachable.
“There is a myth in America that police officers are different, but in reality, they are just like any other citizen,” said Chief Clark. “The only difference is that we are paid to provide protection.”
Safety is created from a perception. When students see the campus as safe and perceive it that way, in turn they can focus more on studies and academics and not worry about their safety walking from class to class.
Along with campus involvement, WSUPD offer different education courses and speaks with organizations on campus on how to keep themselves safe, along with their property.
“Our primary function is safety. We think about it daily,” said Herl. “Our goal is to provide the most professional safety service as we collaborate with the campus community.”