Not everyone on campus feels safe all the time. Tragedy, crime and fear are inevitable everywhere and anywhere with the passing of time. However, our campus is not without protection, prevention and defense. The university police are the force that helps make the University of Wisconsin-Stout a safe haven for all students.
“We have a police department that is dedicated to the campus community,” stated Interim Chief Jason Spetz. “I challenge my officers to get out and meet every student that they possibly can.”
It is this strong relationship, which will only continue to grow, that allows students to trust and feel comfortable around these uniformed figures, and to feel safe making an emergency call, or giving a statement.
“My [former] chief kind of coined the phrase, and I agree with it,” added Spetz, “that we look at ourselves as part of each student’s education that they’re not paying per credit for.”
Spetz is one of the many university officers striving to increase the safety of the campus by inflicting change. Some of these changes occurred prior to the start of the 2016-17 academic year. These were some of the measures taken:
- Addition of exterior cameras on campus
- Implementation of community service officer program through university police (CSO Program initiated by Spetz)
- Housing department 24-hour security lockdown
In addition to the actions listed above, the campus police also initiates an annual safety walk. The purpose of the nighttime walk is to make sure there are no dangerous areas on campus. If there is a lack of street lighting, or there is an area that requires a camera, then the university police acknowledge the need, and tend to the problem respectively.
“We are reaching out as best as we can to inform the campus community and to train the campus community to respond accordingly when they see something that just doesn’t seem right,” added Spetz.
Our campus officers are no longer the only ones with training.
Housing and campus faculty have undergone an orientation on how to react, or respond to issues such as an active shooter, workplace violence, or suspicious behaviors.
The campus police are taking action to make our university a safe place for students, faculty and the Menomonie community. And, they are not alone. They are working with every local officer, whether that be the county police, sheriff’s department, or even state troopers.
These officers are here to listen and inform us of assaults, robbery and any other type of criminal activity taking place on campus. In fact, they have gotten so good at communicating with the campus, that all of the alerts we receive make some people think that crime in Menomonie has risen. Don’t worry. That is not the case.
Both university and community police “[are] not seeing any change in the number of calls, or the things that are happening around town,” said Spetz.
If you are in an emergency dial 911. If you would like to speak to a campus officer, call 232-2222 for all non-emergency situations.
Or — if you’re completely safe and you see a campus officer, just say “hi!”