The SafeWalk Program, which provides volunteers to accompany students, staff or visitors on their late-night walks home, is going into its 14th year this week.
In an effort to keep campus a safe place to be at night, the program launched in 1993, and has given more than 6,000 walks home, not including those done by patrol on off-hours.
SafeWalk officers, or Campus Service Officers (CSOs), are paid as CSUPD employees. Each semester CSUPD employs about 20 CSOs. They engage in more than 50 hours of training, carry identification and radios directly connected to the CSUPD 911 Communication Center. All CSOs are subject to drug tests.
Each CSO must be 18 years of age or older, be in good academic standing and pass a series of hearing and vision tests. They must not have any felony convictions, are required to pass an oral board interview and background check.
CSOs are part of CSUPD’s Community Policing program, which has contributed to decline in campus incidents, said Jackie Swaro, public information officer and assistant to CSU Police Department Chief Dexter Yarbrough.
SafeWalk workers are an asset to the department, Swaro said, because they provide additional sets of eyes and ears for the police department.
The majority of those requesting SafeWalks are women, although the program is designed for all. Any CSU student, staff member or visitor is invited to use the program.
Lindsay Gagner, a junior mathematics and statistics major, said she has never personally felt she needed to use the program, but knows people who have.
“A lot of people, male and female, have class late,” Gagner said. “My only reservation would be the yellow jackets, because I remember someone once impersonated an officer. But for the most part I think it is a really good program.”
During a regular school year, the SafeWalk program runs seven days a week from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. During Daylight Savings Time the hours are 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
To ensure safety on campus, Swaro said all students should be aware of their surroundings and what is going on around them.
“Know how to separate yourself from uncomfortable or dangerous situations,” Swaro said. “Know the campus; learn the streets and buildings so that you always know where you are. Always be alert.”
To request a SafeWalk, call 970-491-1155 or pick up an outdoor emergency service phone located throughout campus. For more information on SafeWalk, go to police.colostate.edu/safewalk.htm.
Assistant news editor Nikki Cristello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.