Martin announces increased WUPD presence off campus

| Senior News Editor

Chancellor Andrew Martin announced plans to increase Washington University Police Department presence in off-campus neighborhoods, increase the number of shuttles and optimize the emergency communication system in an email to the student body, Jan. 13.

The initiatives come in response to a string of criminal activity over the fall semester and are a part of a longer list of changes on campus to increase student safety that Chancellor Martin has announced since the start of the school year.

A public safety working group chaired by Executive Vice Chancellor Hank Webber held a public session in November to share their initial drafts and gather student feedback.

Washington University Police Department (WUPD) Chief of Police Mark Glenn said that one of the major takeaways from the session was ensuring that officers are visible and accessible to students. In response to the session, WUPD plans to designate a community engagement officer, whose role will be to provide updates and guidance to students living off-campus on safety issues.

Glenn also wants to increase the bike patrol presence in surrounding neighborhoods and continue to look into how to best provide resources for the University community.

As another part of the ongoing effort to assuage the concerns of students living off campus, the University has implemented additional shuttles to transport students from the Danforth Campus to surrounding neighborhoods. The rollout will include extra routes and an updated schedule. Students can also expect shorter wait times for each shuttle. Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Rob Wild confirmed in September that there are currently no plans to reinstate the subsidized Uber program.

Martin’s email also announced ongoing efforts to improve communication between WUPD and members of the student body. Students who live on the Danforth campus will also be allowed to opt-in to notifications from other campuses.

Junior Genna Torgan wrote in a statement to Student Life that she feels like WUPD’s presence can seem inconsistent throughout the year.

“I think off campus security is only ever somewhat good after a crime happens and then it dies back down again; I also don’t like that when [WUPD is] in their cars they’re idling with the engine on, which is really bad for our health,” Torgan wrote.

Glenn said that having a police force with a safer and less biased approach begins with the hiring and training process.

“We’re always looking for that, that’s what really kind of drives our core focus in the future,” Glenn said. “So I would encourage anyone who has any questions or any thoughts, ideas or suggestions to either email me or call me directly. I’d be more than happy to talk with them.”

Chancellor Martin emphasized the University’s continued attention to campus safety in the future in a statement to Student Life.

“I’m pleased with the progress the Public Safety Working Group has made so far, including the steps we’ve taken at the start of the new semester,” Martin wrote. “…We remain 100% committed to doing whatever we can to create a safe and secure environment both on and off campus, and I encourage everyone in our community to use the programs and resources that are available.”

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