Safety in numbers!

 Uncategorized
Feb 012004
 
Authors: Natalie Plowman

For students who study late on campus or are walking from one

residence hall to another, CSU offers a program devoted to keeping

everybody safe at night.

Campus Service Officers go through an extensive background check

and a series of interviews with members of the CSU staff, as well

as one-on-one interviews with members of the police department,

said senior John Matzke, a history major who is a member of Safe

Walk. This is in order to guarantee the honesty of every CSO.

“Our job, beyond walking people home, is to be the eyes and ears

for the police department,” Matzke said.

Safe Walk is available for students from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. seven

days a week. The program covers an extensive area where people can

be ‘safe-walked’ home.

The CSU Police Department determines who is employed with Safe

Walk; they are hired through CSUPD.

The hiring process includes an extensive application, followed

by an integrity interview consisting of ethical scenarios and

questions, followed by an invite back to attend an academy, which

embodies approximately 20 hours of training involving the use of

radios, policies and guidelines.

The employees of Safe Walk are members of the CSUPD.

“Right now there are 17 [employees],” said CSUPD Corporal Dave

Hurley.

For physical requirements, employees need to be able to handle

their four-hour shift, Hurley said. They could be walking around

for the entire shift on a busy night and need to be fit enough to

survive that exertion.

There is not a psychological examination, Hurley said. The

integrity interview mainly deals with the psychological side of the

employee. As for academic requirements, employees need a 2.0 GPA

requirement.

“This is my fourth year (with Safe Walk)…I wanted to get

involved on campus and it’s a great program,” Matzke said.

Matzke believes that Safe Walk does make the campus a safer

place.

“The people we walk are so grateful for it,” Matzke said.

The statistics for the utilization of Safe Walk from two years

ago shows the popularity of Safe Walk.

“We had almost 500 safe walks throughout the spring/fall

semester,” Hurley said.

Safe Walk covers the whole campus and an approximate one block

to two block perimeter off campus.

The Aggie and University villages are also included in the areas

that Safe Walk covers.

“We’ve got a pretty wide open range,” Hurley said.

Emergency phones from which Safe Walk can be contacted are

dispersed throughout campus.

“I believe currently there are 23 emergency phones,” Hurley

said.

This year there have been male callers, Matzke said. This is the

first time they have had males call since Matzke has been working

with Safe Walk.

“It’s not that they’re scared, it’s that they’ve been told they

should be,” Matzke said.

Matzke enjoys walking the callers home. “It’s great, we build

friendships,” Matzke said.

Safe Walk, however, has had difficulty with university funding.

The funding has not changed since 1991, Matzke said.

This is a problem since the program continues to expand and the

number of employees increases. The lack of appropriate funding also

causes a decrease in advertising the program, which leaves fewer

students knowledgeable about the program.

“Our program is so under-funded, it’s really been put on the

back burner,” Matzke said.

Brittany Norman, a junior food science and human nutrition

major, was unaware of what the program was.

“I would definitely use it, if I were alone at night and there

wasn’t anyone around,” Norman said, after being informed of what

the program is.

“I’ve felt tempted to use it before,” said junior Brenda Garcia.

“It’s definitely a good option if you get scared.”

To use Safe Walk call 491-1155 or pick up one of the outdoor

emergency/service phone throughout campus.

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