Feb 152005
 
Authors: Chris Tarver

The CSU Police Department is recently going above and beyond the call of duty by eating dinner with students at the residence halls.

In an attempt to foster a more positive relationship with CSU students, CSUPD has implemented a new program, which began midway through last semester and is part of a community-oriented policing approach.

There are roughly two to three officers patrolling the campus at any one time and they are allowed one meal per day in the residence halls if they like. Student officers patrol the residence halls between 6 and 8 p.m.

The officers eating at the dining halls are not there to take their breaks and eat their meals in a corner somewhere, said Sergeant Keith Turney of CSUPD.

"They go there to eat a meal and sit amongst students and make themselves more welcoming for the students," he said.

The officers are encouraged to sit at the tables with the students and engage in positive interaction. The program is designed to make the students aware that the officers are present and approachable.

"I see them walking around quite a bit, just on the streets and stuff," said Brian Wagner a freshman business administration major.

Students have noticed officers in various dining halls and other locations on campus and most said they feel comfortable with the idea.

"It's kind of cool to know that they're actually out and about, instead of just sitting in the police station," said Jackie DeVito, a freshman open-option major.

Initially, some students may have been reserved about the prospect of having officers at the dining halls. But Turney assures students the officers are not there to investigate crimes.

"It's not a thing where we're trying to get information from anybody," Turney said. "It just makes the officers feel like they are part of the community."

This program is also designed as a method to prevent crimes from happening.

"The difference would be more of a response approach. You leave the dorms alone. Somebody calls in a crime. We respond there, take a report, deal with whatever and then leave," Turney said. "We're going to be more interactive at all times."

The program is a proven method of police work, one that the city of Fort Collins has utilized as well by providing numerous foot patrol officers in downtown, Turney said. He also explained that other universities such as Michigan State University and the University of Florida have implemented similar programs.

Turney said the success of the program is based on the overall reaction of the students as well as feedback from the officers and the Residence Life staff. At this point the program is successful and Turney intends to keep it running for as long of possible.

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