University News

Campus Safety: A Message from OPS Director Scott Harris

August 28, 2014


Share |
Printer friendly version

Dear Campus Community:

As a new academic year begins, I would like to welcome new and returning students, faculty and staff to Western Illinois University and to share information about services, resources and assistance available through Western's Office of Public Safety.

While our police officers wear many hats and juggle a multitude of responsibilities, their jobs first and foremost are to ensure the safety and security of students, faculty, staff and campus visitors. The department employs 26 full-time officers and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week from Mowbray Hall on the WIU-Macomb campus. We are committed to the prevention of crime; protection of life and property; preservation of the peace; order and safety; enforcement of laws and University policies; quality parking services; and the safeguarding of constitutional guarantees.

We partner with all members of the WIU community to provide a safe environment. Through training, education and environmental management, we strive to provide a campus that is pleasant, safe, secure and provides for a high quality of life for all of our members and guests.

Some of our safety programs and strategies include:
• A campus-based escort system
• Western's Emergency Alert System
• Emergency blue light callboxes
• A dedicated group of team police stationed in the residence halls
• Crime victim assistance and advocacy
• Maintenance and support/oversight of the non-transport emergency medical service,
Western's Emergency Medical Services (WEMS)
• Student patrols
• Campus-sponsored prevention programs to educate the community about sexual assault, acquaintance rape and other violent offenses

In addition to routine vehicular patrol, OPS officers patrol campus on foot and bicycles, as well as in the residence halls. The officers also provide security and traffic control at University events; conduct building safety checks; and sponsor educational programming.

Western's Student Patrol is available to provide escorts on campus during the evening to the early morning hours. Student Patrol can be reached by calling OPS at (309) 298-1949. If a Student Patrol member is not available, OPS officers will also provide escorts on campus.

There are 48 emergency call boxes at strategic locations throughout campus. Without dialing, the caller is immediately in contact with OPS; the location of the call is automatically recorded and response is almost immediate. Public Safety may also be reached in an emergency by dialing 9-1-1 from any campus phone. In a non-emergency, the number is (309) 298-1949. Please add our phone number to your contacts list.

While the fault or cause of a crime does not lie with the person who was wronged, there are some measures that may lessen the risk of a crime occurring:

• If you feel uncomfortable about a situation, trust your instincts.
• Avoid walking alone (use the buddy system when possible). Avoid leaving with someone you do not know. Communicate to others where you are going and with whom.
• Make a commitment to ensure everyone has a safe way home.
• Be an active bystander. Call the police if you see a crime being committed!
• Be aware of your surroundings, and travel in populated, well-lit areas when possible.
• Use Go West, the University's transit system, or the after-dark OPS Student Patrol escort service.
• Lock your room/apartment/office door, even if you are gone for only a few minutes.
• Do not leave backpacks, books, purses or personal property unattended.

I would like to stress to our campus community that the only person responsible for a sexual assault is the perpetrator. It is a violation of University policy to engage in sexual activities without affirmative consent. A University student or employee in violation of sexual assault policies face sanctions up to, and including, suspension and termination, respectively, in addition to legal action.

Bystander intervention training is available through the WIU Step Up Program as part of Beu Health Center's Peer Educators Program. The goal of the program is to learn helping behaviors, increase the motivation to help others in trouble and develop the skills when responding to a problem. In addition the Center for the Study of Masculinities and Men's Development provides programming, training and resources.

There are resources in place on the Western Illinois University campus and within the community to help you. The University Counseling Center provides free counseling services to currently enrolled Western Illinois University undergraduate and graduate students. The UCC can be reached at (309) 298-2453. The University offers a student hotline [(309) 298-3211 or (866) 435-0480], and the Western Illinois Regional Council's Victim Services unit provides a 24-hour crisis line [(309) 837-5555]. If you have concerns or questions or need to report a crime or suspicious behavior, please call OPS immediately or visit Mowbray Hall at any time [(309) 298-1949]. In addition, reports of sexual violence may be made to the Title IX coordinator at Title-IX@wiu.edu or (309) 298-1977.

You can also find additional campus security information at wiu.edu/ops.

For more information about Office of Public Safety resources and services, contact the Office of Public Safety at (309) 298-1949 or email publicsafety@wiu.edu.

We look forward to working with each of you to make the 2014-15 a successful and safe school year.

Scott Harris
Director
Western Illinois University Office of Public Safety



Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations