University Police works to serve campus, despite understaffing

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University Police works to serve campus, despite understaffing

University Police Department located on the corner of Chestnut St and W Second St. Photo credit: Angelina Mendez

University Police Department located on the corner of Chestnut St and W Second St. Photo credit: Angelina Mendez

University Police Department located on the corner of Chestnut St and W Second St. Photo credit: Angelina Mendez

University Police Department located on the corner of Chestnut St and W Second St. Photo credit: Angelina Mendez

Angelina Mendez

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With a tight staff and high demands, University Police Department is working to address a variety of safety concerns at Chico State.

UPD is located next to campus and states its mission as “to provide a safe environment for our campus community through proactive, progressive, and professional law enforcement services” as stated on their homepage.

With a string of recent events concerning student safety – such as burglaries, a break-in at Whitney Hall and a student’s death by train, UPD wants to give an update and more information about the services they offer and or provide.

Police Commander Chris Nicodemus was asked about the exact services that UPD offers and or provides.

“We offer a lot of services to students,” Nicodemus said.

“We offer a lot of training for the students… a lot of information can be found on our website about the police department, live scanning, ways to report crimes and more general information about the campus. As well as the campus alert system to keep students aware of the situations going on and general contact information.

“We want students that are interested in law enforcement to come and work with us, they obviously know the campus and are of age, so they can relate to the students.”

Nicodemus provided new information regarding patrols and actions being taken to improve student safety.

“We are constantly monitoring and assessing the needs of the faculty, students and staff in order to keep them safe and we are trying to increase our foot patrols on campus,” he said. “We are documenting the dates, times and locations when we do foot patrols on campus. We don’t want to arrest people and take them to jail, we want to try to prevent that from happening so that people can learn and not have to have arrest on their records. ”

Nicodemus also said that UPD does walkthroughs at students’ housing and on-campus to maintain a presence.

“UPD has 18 officers including the chief, while Chico Police has four times as many officers,” Nicodemus says. “If there’s a situation we need assistance with, we have that relationship with Chico PD in place and that relationship is day-to-day. We printed out and laminated some campus maps for Chico PD and that way if officers need a way to find a place on campus, they will have the maps. This is all a part of building our relationship.”

First-year student and criminal justice major Gina Gallia was asked about her input on campus safety and if she thinks it’s a good idea to have more police on campus.

“So far I haven’t seen UPD on campus as much but I noticed that there hasn’t been active violence or any issues so they must be doing a great job,” Gallia said.

“I don’t question my safety on campus. I’ve never felt threatened or in danger. I’ve heard a lot of stories of police officers helping students who feel unsafe to get to a safe place and I think it’s a really great thing they do. I honestly think that they have been doing a good job with responding to crime reports.” Gallia said

However, even though Commander Nicodemus explains they’ve improved their presence on campus, some students are still failing to see them.

“I believe to make improvements, it might help to see them around campus more often for students to be reminded that they are there to help keep them safe as well as to maintain confidence within the student body that safety is their number one priority,” Gallia explains.

Nicodemus also explained what exactly Blue Lights are, the number on campus and an update on when more will arrive.

“We have 44 blue lights on campus. They are strategically placed on campus so if you are at one blue light you can see another one. That’s the way they are positioned and they are all over campus. When you use a blue light and make that call, that immediately goes to our dispatch center,” Nicodemus said. “We have our certified dispatch center that’s open 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Some of the locations where the blue lights are located have cameras as well so we have eyes on what’s going on as well. There will be more coming in the future.”

Nicodemus advises students to check out the UPD website where a large amount of information is provided.

“Always travel in groups and try to stay in well-lit areas,” Nicodemus said. “Always inform someone what you’re doing, where you’re going and to be aware of your surroundings. We are here 24 hours a day, if you see something, say something. We are always here.”

UPD has contact and general information located on their website through Chico State’s main website as well.

Angelina Mendez can be reached at [email protected]

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