Washburn Police increase campus safety

Natalie Engler

The Washburn University Police Department is updating its safety procedures and security measures due to an increased demand for more security by students. University police have started this process through briefings with residential assistants as well as increasing video surveillance on the Washburn campus.

Washburn “Help Poles”, located in 13 places on and off campus, are in service to provide students a way to contact the police and receive assistance. The Help Poles are not just for emergencies but for asking for any assistance, including getting directions, places of events, car trouble or actual emergencies.

Sgt. Bill Henry, supervisor of patrol, spoke with several RAs during a safety briefing concerning the security on campus.

“We were talking about adding additional cameras around the campus,” Henry said. “We are looking at areas that we see as deficient and that we would like to see those locations.”

There are many services that students may use offered by WUPD, such as iAlert and police escorts. iAlert is designed as a message notification to ensure the safety of students and staff in any situation. Police escorts are there to assist students who do not feel comfortable traveling from one place to another. For example, a student can request an escort from the Mabee Library to his or her car or dormitory.

“We need to understand that the Help Poles aren’t just there for emergencies, but for all help,” said Ariel Jones, junior finance and entrepreneurship major. “Security comes by following campus policies, lending a helping hand, reporting suspicious activity, and if in imminent danger, begin by eliminating the ‘bystander effect,’ which could prevent and even save a life.”

Breanna Schmidt, sophomore English major, believes that the Help Poles are useful on campus but feels like more need to be on campus.

“I know we have them but I do not know where they are at. I would be happier if we had more,” Schmidt said.

Henry advises students to keep their vehicles locked and valuables like laptops out of sight.

“Keep your cellphones charged and with you at all times,” Henry said.

These Help Poles are designed to be very easy to use. Simply locate the nearest pole and hit the red “call” button to be transferred to speak with a WUPD dispatcher who will stay on the line until police arrive.