University News

From the OPS Director: Campus Safety

September 3, 2019

Share |
Printer friendly version

Dear University Community,

As September is Campus Safety Awareness Month, I'd like to take this opportunity to share information regarding the services, resources and assistance available through Western's Office of Public Safety (OPS). Our 24 police officers ensure the safety and security of students, faculty, staff and campus visitors, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Office of Public Safety works with others across the WIU campus and within our local community to provide a safe environment and to ensure a campus that is pleasant and secure. Western Illinois University promotes a culture of community accountability. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 immediately.

OPS safety programs and strategies include:
• A campus-based escort system and student patrols
• Western's Emergency Alert System
• Emergency callboxes
• Crime victim assistance and advocacy
• Western's Emergency Medical Services (WEMS) [non-transport emergency medical service]
• Prevention and awareness programs/presentations, including RAD (Rape Aggression Defense classes, offered free to female students and community members. Watch for information on the Fall '19 class.)

In addition to routine patrol by car, our sworn police officers patrol campus on foot and bicycles, as well as in the residence halls. The officers provide security and traffic control at University events, conduct building safety checks and host educational programming.

Western's Student Patrol provide escorts on campus during the evening to the early morning hours, seven days a week. 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 callboxes at strategic locations throughout campus. Without dialing, the caller is immediately connected with OPS. 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.

The following are some strategies that we share each year with our campus community:

• Use the OPS Student Patrol Escort System (298-1949) or Go West transit.
• Be an active bystander. Call the police if you see a crime being committed!
• Intimate activity of any kind requires consent. No means no.
• Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts.
• When at a social gathering, go with friends. Arrive together, check in with each other, and leave together.
• Don't leave your drink unattended and don't accept drinks from others.
• Lock your room/apartment/office door, even if you are gone for only a few minutes.
• Do not leave property (backpacks, purses, laptops, etc.) unattended.

If you have concerns or questions or need to report a crime or suspicious behavior, call OPS immediately or visit Mowbray Hall at any time [(309) 298-1949]. Sexual misconduct can be reported to OPS or to the Title IX coordinator at or (309) 298-1977.

Should you become a victim of a crime, there are numerous resources available. The University Counseling Center provides free, confidential counseling services to currently enrolled WIU 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].

Pay attention when walking throughout campus and the community. Use the sidewalks and crosswalks … when you are looking down at a phone, texting and reading emails, you put yourselves and others at risk. Drivers, be mindful of pedestrians and observe traffic laws, including stopping at crosswalks and not passing school buses.

For more information about Office of Public Safety resources and services, contact the Office of Public Safety at (309) 298-1949 or email You can also find additional campus security information at

We look forward to working with each of you to ensure a safe and productive school year.

Derek Watts
Acting Director
Western Illinois University Office of Public Safety

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations