WUPO strives for campus safety and security

Keeping WU Safe: Washburn police officers help keep campus safe and secure. Many of the officers have said that they wish to meet more students and build connections and trust within the Washburn community.

Jaluan Newson and Joelle Conway

A huge conversation has been happening across our nation’s college campuses: How do we stay safe on campus?

Amid the violence happening in our country, Washburn University has made a commitment to its students, faculty and staff to cultivate a safe campus environment. The Washburn University Police Department takes that commitment very seriously, as they are the campus’ primary resource for safety and security.

Captain Matt Simpson and Sergeant Anthony Escalante are WUPO officers. Both officers are graduates of Washburn University. Simpson has been an officer at Washburn for four years. Escalante has been an officer at Washburn for two years.

“Safety on the campus is a joint responsibility. You know, we encourage students to empower themselves: know where the lights are on campus, where the help phones are and get to know their surroundings. We are here to do everything possible to make your experience pleasant, and to keep you safe,” said Simpson.

WUPO encourages students to call or text 911 for emergencies. When somebody calls 911, a myriad of public service departments are aware of the situation and can give appropriate help.

For an imminent situation that doesn’t require emergency services, you may call or text WUPO at 785-670-1153. A communications dispatcher is available 24/7.

If a crime occurs on campus, contact WUPO immediately. All of the officers are trained on assisting students on making a police report. You will be asked to make a statement and answer clarifying questions in order to best help the officers solve the case.

WUPO encourages students to know the available resources on campus.

“I think the biggest thing that I would encourage people to do is to let people know where you’re going,” said Simpson.

Students who have night classes or walk campus alone at night should tell a friend or roommate where they are going.

Washburn Police Department is authorized to have 20 officers. Washburn Tech, the KBI Building and Washburn University share these officers.

WUPO officers all wear body cameras and radios, among other policeman tools like a Taser, handcuffs, baton and pepper spray. WUPO has annual trainings on use of force, de-escalating situations and diversity and inclusion training.

Washburn is also a campus that allows students to conceal carry as long as students are in compliance with the universities policies on the matter. You can find a full explanation of the conceal carry policy here: https://www.washburn.edu/student-life/student-involvement/policies-forms/concealed-weapons-policy.html

Micahela Webb, Washburn alumni and 1L student at Washburn Law, explained what it means to her to attend a university she feels safe at.

“Having a safe campus means having a sense of security whenever I step foot on campus that I am protected. Beyond that, it means the feeling of belonging to a community in which we watch out for one another,” said Webb. “I believe that safety on campus is an absolute component of making ones college experience memorable and positive.”

Washburn’s police officers are here to protect and establish trust with the Washburn community. Many of the officers wish to meet all the students and build relationships with them. Having a police department that deeply cares about the population it serves is another aspect of why Washburn is so special to many.

“Regardless of what’s in the national media about the tensions between communities and police, that doesn’t have to be us. We control of how we treat each other. We are truly here and we are student-centered,” said Escalante.

Washburn police department is striving to create a campus climate where students, faculty and staff feel safe and secure.

Edited by Brianna Smith, Jackson Woods, Jason Morrison