by Geoff Larcom, Published March 18, 2014
YPSILANTI – Six new police officers were sworn in this month as the Eastern Michigan University Department of Public Safety took another major step in its plan to expand off-campus patrols and collaboration with other area law agencies.
The new police officers include full-time officers Helaina Bell, Bridget Bofysil, Michael Harhold, Michael Richardson and Ermir Vila. Kevin Dorsey will be a part-time foot patrol officer.
The group is part of EMU’s overall plan to hire 10 additional police officers this year in order to continue to maintain the effective and extensive safety operations in place on Eastern’s campus while greatly increasing the University’s off-campus oversight.
“These additional officers will provide a crucial new dimension to our policing efforts.” EMU Police Chief Bob Heighes said. “It was exciting to see our new officers sworn in and think about all they will contribute to our campus community.”
Heighes said that the new officers will undergo four months of training with another officer in the field before joining the regular rotation of patrols. The training will focus on learning DPS procedures and University policy along with getting to know the campus and its staff and students.
In October, the University and other area agencies began patrolling the LeForge Road area north of campus. Further areas of expanded patrols will include neighborhoods surrounding campus on its south, east and west borders, where a concentration of EMU students and staff live.
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.
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. For more on the Department of Public Safety, please visit http://www.emich.edu/publicsafety/
This month’s increased police staffing, which gives EMU 36 officers, 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.
Those include 500 plus 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:
• Additional informational resources for students considering living off campus. This includes a new website with a safety checklist that renters should ask of landlords; links to EMU public safety resources; online crime mapping links for EMU and the city of Ypsilanti, as well as the city of Ann Arbor; links to bus schedules; links to renter's guides and other tenant resources; and, housing reviews provided by outside organizations. Additionally, landlords who want to participate in an annual off-campus housing fair must complete a safety checklist. Please visit the website at http://www.emich.edu/offcampushousing/
• Expanded the hours of the SEEUS campus escort service, which provides services to students, faculty and staff on campus after dark and overnight. The mobile service has been extended to operate from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. (previously 3 a.m.) seven days a week.
• Working with private rental properties in the area to press for further safety measures in those complexes. Adding surveillance cameras, emergency call stations, installing better security systems and door locks, organizing a neighborhood watch program, and expanding shuttle service for residents into the evening hours are among the actions being pursued.
• Working with DTE Energy to evaluate lighting around the perimeter of campus where students live and walk to campus.
“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. “This month’s addition of six officers represents another key step in this collaboration.”
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