PNW Pioneer

Campus police adjust to unification

Campus police officers Robert Segally (left) and Jeffery White (right) speak with students at the Westville campus.

Campus police officers Robert Segally (left) and Jeffery White (right) speak with students at the Westville campus.

Photo provided

Photo provided

Campus police officers Robert Segally (left) and Jeffery White (right) speak with students at the Westville campus.

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Crime rates have not changed at PNW since unification, but there have been changes made to ensure the safety of students, according to campus police.

Brian Miller, director of Public Safety, said crime rates are stable with minor fluctuations. There are, however, more crimes reported on the Hammond campus than the Westville campus. Miller said that has to do with the locations of the two campuses.

“The Westville campus has approximately 3,500 students and is located in a rural county that has 100,000 residents. The Hammond campus has over 10,000 students, includes housing and is located in an urban area connected with Chicago, a city with almost 3 million residents,” Miller said.

According to Miller, this is to be expected, but it does not mean that either campus is unsafe.

Chancellor Thomas Keon also said that the crime rate on campus is what is seen on any other campus.

“In the [Hammond] area, there’s been some issues but I think everyone knows we have our own police force and that they monitor the campus carefully. It’s quite safe,” Keon said. “I do think that students who are walking at night should reconsider walking alone, but I would say that about anywhere.”

When the campuses first unified, campus police had to adjust to two locations along with determining which policies and procedures to use for both police units. Since then, Miller said campus police has adapted and solved issues.

“We have consolidated our training, equipment, general orders and rules and regulations. The number of personnel on both campuses is the same,” Miller said.

Campus police also trains with 11 agencies that would assist PNW in the case of a threat such as an active shooter on campus. Miller said all officers are first responder certified by the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. He also said that campus police will provide yearly certification in CPR and AED use, and that this year all officers will receive training in the use of tourniquets.

In the future, Miller would like to see more interactions with campus police and the community.

“I want to continue the relationship that we have forged with local police departments and move both police departments further into the community policing model,” Miller said.

Miller said other minor changes have been made to campus police, such as the lettering and logos on the police cars and uniforms. Officers from one campus will now work at the other campus for major events such as commencement.

“Both the Westville and Hammond campuses are safe for our campus members. We have a very professional lineup of officers at each campus and I’m proud of our service,” Miller said. “The officers genuinely care about our campus members and it shows in their performance.”

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