WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Police at Wichita State University are preparing to up their game when it comes to building relationships with students.
The department is planning to expand community policing and add some programs to get students involved.
Officer Chad Agnew is passionate about being a community police officer.
“We go around to different events and activities and try to get people a better understanding of law enforcement here at WSU,” says Agnew.
It is a job that comes with challenges. He says sometimes not all people trust police.
“We have to let them know that we are the good guys,” says Agnew,
And difficult because there have only been two officers focused on community policing.
“We will work eight hours shifts from 10-6 or sometimes we will come in later in the evening and get off at 1 o’clock at night.”
But that’s changing. They are now looking to hire two more community police officers, which, he says, will allow them to more consistently engage with students.
“We would have two community policing officers on first shift, hopefully, and then any type of event or activity they could respond to those during the day shift, and then we would have two that would work the evening shift.”
Thanks to a partnership with Student Government Association students will have regular walk through with the officers.
“What we really wanted to do is we really want the students to build stronger and positive relationships with the university police department,” says SGA President Joseph Shepard.
During the walk through, they will go over areas where students maybe haven’t felt safe in the past or areas that could have lighting improvements. But sometimes the best way to learn is to do. Police say they will let students test out the emergency response systems on campus and teach them the best way to reach police in the case of an emergency.
While student safety is the main goal of the walk-through, Chief Sarah Morris and Officer Agnew say the overall goal is to let students know they care about them.
“They get to know that we are people just like everybody else and this is just the career path that I’ve chosen,” says Agnew.
Chief Sarah Morris says they will also be doing active shooter training with students and teaching them about safety resources that many students don’t know about.
She says they are also in the interviewing stage of hiring the new community police officers.