Universities across the country take precautions every day to keep their campuses safe.
This week marked the beginning of National Campus Safety Awareness Month, and safety is a commitment at Murray State.
Murray State, along with other Kentucky universities, must follow the same laws and regulations.
According to Clery Center website, “The Michael Minger Act is a state law that requires public colleges and universities as well as private institutions licensed by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education in Kentucky to report campus crimes to their employees, students and the public on a timely basis.”
There are multiple employees who are trained to handle emergency situations on campus. Roy Dunaway, interim chief of Public Safety and Emergency Management, is proud of the office’s accomplishments.
“The safety precautions taken by our police department, in partnership with Student Affairs, Housing and other departments, received a prestigious distinction as being the first public university in the world to have been designated as a ‘Safe Campus’ by the World Health Organization in 2012,” Dunaway said.
Public Safety is a full-time police department with sworn officers.
“All sworn officers are trained at the Department of Criminal Justice Training Police Academy,” Dunaway said.
Another display of campus safety precautions taken by the University is Racer Patrol.
“They do not function as law enforcement officers, but are in constant contact with police officers and dispatch,” Dunaway said. “They provide security, surveillance and escorts for students.”
One of the jobs of Racer Patrol is to test the emergency programs.
Throughout Murray State’s campus are multiple blue call boxes which provide a direct communication line with dispatch through the police department.
The call boxes are available for anyone on campus. The average response time to emergency calls is two minutes.
The call boxes are also tested each day to make sure they are working properly and that the patrol can be alerted if necessary.
Among all safety precautions offered on our campus, some students say they are generally pleased.
Kirstie Willis, senior from Princeton, Ky., said that she generally feels safe on campus, depending on the time of day.
“During the day I feel safe because I can see people walking around, and the call boxes help me feel safe at night as well,” Willis said.
There were a few suggestions that Willis said would make her feel safer on campus, especially during the evening hours.
“More lighting would make me feel safer,” Willis said. “It would also be good to have designated areas throughout campus for safety personnel to be stationed.”
Murray State’s Public Safety functions 24 hours a day. It has a full staff of trained dispatchers available at all times. Contacting the department is easy as well.
“We suggest that each student program our direct telephone number into their cellular telephones as a favorite,” Dunaway said. “The direct number is 270-809-2222. If students are calling from an on-campus telephone, the caller only needs to dial 2222. A student may also choose to report an incident to their respective resident advisers, who will then contact the police department.”
As a confirmed “Safe Campus” by the World Health Organization, the goal of other on-campus safety precautions is “to be courteous, helpful and approachable to all members of the Murray State community,” Dunaway said. “If you see something, say something.”
Story by Tiffany Whitfill, Staff writer