Operation Identification

Brown / Jaime

The Washburn University Police Department is strengthening efforts to return stolen property to students through a new documentation program called Operation Identification.

Students no longer need to wait until their belongings are stolen to itemize what they own to a police officer.

“This is a process by which we can encourage students to get involved,” said Washburn University police captain Ed White.

Operation Identification is a system that allows students to identify and catalog their personal school property on campus with Washburn security.

Every student knows someone, or is someone, that has had their personal property stolen. No matter how diligent people are, break-ins and robberies happen. Though the number of burglaries on campus has dropped, problems in the residence halls have remained relatively steady. Last year there were nine burglaries reported in the residence halls along with 12 burglaries on the general campus. These statistics might not shock but take into consideration Washburn’s small campus.

The Operation Identification form for textbooks is a simple sheet requiring minimal information from students. The top provides basic instructions for filling out the form along with requesting basic student personal information such as Washburn ID and contact information. Each student then has the option of cataloging all of their textbooks, then further down the sheet they may list any personal info they deem fit.

Operation Identification has been around for a few years now. Washburn presents freshmen with the option of filling out the necessary forms on move-in day. The paperwork is also on file in the security building. In addition to allowing students to catalogue their belongings, Operation Identification provides special ultraviolet pens. These special pens allow students to mark their property without leaving any visible signs. “This definitely helps us to identify each individual’s property,” said White.

The key to successfully utilizing Operation Identification is to provide the Washburn Police with as much information as possible, namely serial numbers or letters. The form requests students pick a page in their book and create a unique identifying marker on that page. This could range from circling certain words on the page or drawing a farm animal, whatever strikes the student’s fancy.

The personal property boxes requirements don’t differ much from textbook documentation. Students simply describe the personal property being cataloged and include on the form a serial number or identification marker. Students are encouraged to include a picture of the item when available.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” said Christine Pfeffer, a senior art major. “It won’t keep anyone from being victimized but if it happens this will assist students in getting back what they own.”

Crime happens and it is foolish to assume that a fancy car alarm or solid locks will prevent the inevitable. The odds of stolen property being returned to its rightful owner are slim but Operation Identification goes a long way to improving the likelihood they will. Stop by the Washburn Police Department for a form or download a copy from Washburn’s Web site at www.washburn.edu/admin/police/campus-resource-officer.html.