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University Police Department Offers Assistance Services

todayFebruary 26, 2016 23

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By Carlos Marquez III
Senior News Reporter

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    University Police Department Offers Assistance Services

 

Photo by Carlos Marquez III
Photo by Carlos Marquez III

The Texas State University Police Department offers many services to students, staff and faculty. The department offers Bobcat Bobbies and Cats On The Go to help students get around campus.

Apart of offering rides around campus, the University Police Department also offers motorist assist for students, staff and faculty. Texas State University police officer Phillip Holden described the services that the department offers.

“The crew that I supervise are the security officers division of the police department,” Holden said. “To which they provide several different services to the community, one being the motorist assist. The motorist assist is kind of shared between University Police Department and the parking services division of transportation. What (motorist assist) consists of is, if there is an individual on campus, student, staff or faculty, and they need assistance, such as they’ve locked their keys inside of their vehicle, then we’ll do a motorist assist and we’ll go and use access tools to gain access to their vehicle so they can retrieve their keys. The security officers also assist in providing safety escorts, they’re responsible for locking the buildings on campus and ensuring that all buildings on campus are secured in the evening.”

Holden reported that in the past, the police department was not able to perform a motorist assist for students or staff with power locks because of liability concerns but he says that the policy was changed because he believes at least 90 percent of the Texas State community drives a vehicle with power locks. Holden explained why the department will help unlock any and all vehicles.

“The reason behind them being put in place is because we’re here to serve the university community and to assist the students, staff and faculty in any manner that we can,” Holden said. “Plus, you got to think about it. In the event that somebody needs their keys out of their vehicle or they need a jump, the only alternative is to call a company like pop-a-lock or a tow company who’s going to come out and charge the student a pretty nominal fee to provide that service whereas we, as a department and supportive of the university community can do it at no charge.”

The security officers also help operate the van service that parking services offers which gives students a ride to the Mill Street Parking Garage. The security officers take over the van when the parking services driver has left for the day. Holden also oversees the University Police’s student workers and he stressed that student workers encounter frustrations when students abuse the services the police department offers and explained why it is important to only ask for a ride when you really need it.

“I do oversee the Bobcat Bobbies,” Holden said. “I have eleven student workers that work as bobbies and provide the escorts on campus and I can tell you that sometimes their frustration is, for a lack of better terms, sometimes the abuse of the program, which is specifically designed for those people that are uncomfortable or fearful of going across campus from one destination to another by themselves. Often a lot of individuals use it because they don’t want to walk the hills or it’s cold outside and not really for the main purpose of what the bobbies program was designed for. So I know sometimes that my student workers get frustrated because of the, I guess again the lack of better terms, the abuse of the system that’s been put in place. The major impact on it is I’ve got eleven bobbies, as a whole. We try to operate 7 days a week and I’ve got 5 golf carts. So with those 5 golf carts and the amount of the people that are on campus, over the hours that we operate, it sometimes slows down the response time or the time that they can get to the individuals that truly need it, you know because they’re busy giving other people rides, if you will. Sometimes because of that wait, it may make an individual who truly needs the service, either become disgruntled or disenchanted with the service and then choose not to use it, because they don’t feel that it functions or works for them or they may end up leaving where they’re at, when they’re uncomfortable, instead of waiting and thinking that the escort is on their way. Potentially, (it) makes them even more uncomfortable and not having faith in the system.”

Holden emphasized that the University Police Department does not just help Texas State students and would like to see more overall participation in the services that the police department offers. Although it can be difficult to give everyone a ride at once, Holden says that the University Police Department is dedicated to serving the entire Texas State Community.

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