In 1955, people were not jumping for joy when they were going to have to pay $3 per year to park on campus. Colorado State University Police Department (then known as Campus Police) was planning a parking program for the university.
In the beginning of CSUPD’s history, the department’s main purpose was to institute a new parking program. Chief Marvin Teegarden was in charge of the arrangements. During those days, the responsibility of law enforcement on campus was up to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department. At that time, the sheriff’s department consisted of the sheriff, three deputies, a matron and a jailer to take care of the whole county. However, over time funds were donated to expand the CSUPD’s roles.
In 1957, the department consisted of two uniformed officers and two traffic clerks to handle records. Yet, 70 percent of their business still involved parking. Growth came rapidly in the early 1960s for both the University and department.
In 13 years, campus security had grown from just one man, Teegarden, to 35 people. Employees worked out of the Student Health facility and were getting ready to go to 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation. Before this change, there was no one on duty on Sundays, and during the week there was no one patrolling after 10 p.m., even though the office was open until midnight.
There wasn’t much crime when the department was born until the 1960s and 70s.
On October 18, 1968, students protested the State Board of Agriculture’s refusal to allow beer at the Student Center by bringing in their own beer. In 1970, the police force had to handle several rallies, marches and demonstrations such as a protest by African Americans during halftime at a basketball game. They were protesting a Mormon Church for alleged racist practices.
Then, there was the burning of one of CSU’s oldest buildings, Old Main, in 1970. The case has never been solved.
From protests to alcohol rights and burnings, Donn Hopkins, chief of police, feels that there is more of a concern with personal safety today.
CSUPD has changed considerably over the past 40 years, but crime remains a problem.
“Theft has been our number one problem for 17 years since I’ve been here,” said Hopkins.
CSUPD was formerly just campus security until 1968, when it became a formal police operation. The police force has witnessed more assault behavior than any other crime. Citizens reported 3,562 crimes in 2001. Also, there has been an increase in substance abuse by students. Thefts of expensive bikes also increased significantly over the years.
However, Lanai Anderson, a junior dance major, feels otherwise. “As a person of color I don’t feel as threatened because of the simple fact that when you’re of the minority, you’re not as targeted. I pay attention to my surroundings and know what is going on.”
Security has been heightened in the residence halls to ensure the safety of students. All community bathrooms have code devices. Extra doors separate residential areas in the wings. All side doors have alarms and are monitored 24 hours a day.
“We hope that students who have guests will accompany them to not let them wander and help decrease personal theft,” Hopkins said.
He pointed out that when open container and minor possession rules were enforced, other crimes decreased such as theft, assault and harassment.
CSUPD is located in Green Hall and operates 24 hours a day. Call 911 for emergencies and 491-6425 for non-emergencies.
Below are safety tips to lessen your chances of being a victim of crime:
1. Lock it up: bike, backpack, car, and personal property.
2. If not of age, don’t drink. You can put yourself in more vulnerable situations you don’t want to be involved in.
3. Use the safety walk program, available every night at 491-1155
4. Even though you may not drink, don’t ride with someone who has been drinking.
5. Don’t prop doors open or allow strangers into campus buildings that have been secured.
6. Don’t lend keys or leave them unattended in your work or living space.
7. Trust your instincts
8. Avoid dangerous situations
9. Work with law-enforcement officials
Timeline of police at CSU:
April 1955 Colorado A&M hires M. Wayne Teegarden to implement parking procedures and organize a parking program for the university.
Sept. 1955 Two officers are added to the program, bringing to a total of three officers.
Nov. 1958 City traffic ordinances become effective on campus and enforcement begins.
Feb. 1963 First Collegian Police Blotter appears in issue.
Oct. 1963 Bicycle racks are installed on campus.
Oct. 1964 Bicycle laws become effective on campus.
Feb. 1966 The police department now has 1 chief, 6 full-time officers, 9 SSU officers and 5 student SSU officers
Dec. 1966 Reporting and police activity are centered more around drugs.
Sept. 1967 Police officers are allowed to carry guns in the daytime.
May 1970 CSU’s oldest building, Old Main, burns down by unknown arsonist (remains unsolved).
Nov. 1972 Foot patrol begins in dorms using students dressed in blazers and no weapons.
Jan. 1973 Fort Collins Police Department hires first city female officer.
Sept. 1975 Fort Collins begins use of “911” emergency number.
May 1985 CSU drafts “Alcohol Policy” for university.