WUPD to form student advisory group
Washington University Police Chief Mark Glenn will create a student advisory group to improve communications between the Washington University Police Department and the student body.
Glenn plans to finalize the members of the group over winter break and begin meetings by the spring semester. He held preliminary conversations with faculty members and those affiliated with student affairs to ensure all student groups and identities are represented.
The group will advise WUPD on safety and security issues, how to communicate with the student body and how to implement long-term goals for the department. Glenn hopes that the student group will provide a platform for students to formally communicate their concerns in a way that was previously not possible.
“I had seen multiple advisory groups around campus to administrators, and as I looked at that, I realized that I probably needed an outlet for me to talk with students where I get to have a direct connection,” Glenn said. “I thought it would be really helpful for me, as well as the University, to have a dedicated group of students that we can talk to about safety and security issues.”
Pointing to WUPD’s student updates, freshman James Cevasco believes WUPD successfully kept the student body informed on the series of carjackings near campus in September.
“With the incidents that happened earlier this year, they definitely communicated very well with the emails, which were very thorough,” Cevasco said. “They were sent to the students and the parents as well, which I think is really important.”
In addition to giving students an opportunity to make their voices heard, Glenn also sees the new group as an opportunity for WUPD to personalize their approach to policing.
“I think that [our goals] are ever evolving in today’s world with communication, and I think being able to pick the brains of students on how they receive information and how they function really should help us dictate how we communicate with students,” Glenn said. “When we put out alerts and security memos, we want to make sure that we are figuring out how students can best use that information.”
Students hope that improving communication between WUPD and the Washington University community will lead to better community policing.
“Just improving how WUPD is communicating with the University is the most efficient way of making sure that everyone is on the same page,” Cevasco said.
Specifically, Glenn hopes to focus on improving the safety of students who live off campus and commute to class.
“I think students that live off campus have a different need for safety and security than students who live on campus,” Glenn said. “I think it has changed this year when the University didn’t allow sophomores to park on campus and we saw a change in how students move around campus. And this is where it would be really helpful to get thoughts from students on how they are transitioning through and around the neighborhoods.”
In order for this program to be successful, Glenn encourages active engagement from the student body.
“What do you want to hear from the police department?” Glenn said. “What do you want to hear from me? And what is the best way to get that message out?”