by Geoff Larcom, Published December 10, 2013
YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University plans to hire 10 additional full-time police officers by September 2014 in order to continue to expand patrols beyond campus boundaries.
The expansion will be implemented in phases, beginning with the four new police officers announced last month who will begin in mid-January. The search and hiring process for the four new officers is currently underway.
EMU Chief of Police Robert Heighes also plans to hire four more officers in May 2014, with two more officers to be hired in late summer. All officers under the expansion would be equipped and hired by September 2014. Under the plan, two current police officers would be promoted to sergeant to assist in supervising the additional officers.
“These additional officers will provide a crucial new dimension to our policing efforts,” Heighes said. “We will maintain the highly effective and extensive safety operations we have in place on Eastern’s campus, while greatly increasing our off-campus efforts.”
The precise areas to be patrolled in the expanded efforts will be determined in the coming weeks and months in collaboration with the University’s community safety partners in Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County.
In addition to the new officers, EMU Police will create a second crime response unit composed of two officers and a sergeant. The crime response unit will be focused on investigating specific high-profile crimes.
“The safety of our students, faculty and staff has always been our top priority, whether on campus or off,” President Susan Martin said. “This expansion will bring EMU Police patrols and safety efforts directly into the neighborhoods just beside campus where our students live.”
Eastern Michigan Police are professional, fully deputized officers with jurisdiction in Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County, and have always had limited patrol operations in the immediate perimeter areas of campus and in the areas surrounding the College of Business campus on Michigan Avenue and the Eagle Crest Conference Center and Golf Course on Huron Street.
“Today’s announcement indicates our plan to expand those operations and make them part of our day-to-day patrols,” Martin said.
The staffing increase dramatically extends the University’s recent efforts to expand its reach in creating a safer overall community. In October, the University began devoting two officers to patrolling the LeForge Road area north of campus, collaborating with the Ypsilanti Police Department, which is devoting one officer to the expanded patrols, and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department, which has assigned two officers, one of which is paid for by Ypsilanti Township.
The increased police staffing is the latest of many safety efforts that have been implemented to ensure Eastern remains one of the safest campuses among all of Michigan’s public universities.
Eastern’s campus safety efforts over the years include a staff of more than 30 fully trained and licensed professional officers, 500 security cameras that blanket campus, SEEUS campus escorts, and a variety of other safety measures. Recent comparative safety data (www.emich.edu/safetycomparison) illustrates the results of these initiatives.
Other recent measures to enhance safety include:
“Public safety is a regional issue and all of us are focused on creating the safest possible environment for our students, faculty, staff and neighbors,” Heighes said.
* * *