Public safety forces ready to help students

Alex Johnson

Kent State University’s public safety measures provide students with multiple layers of security, including an on-campus police force, nighttime campus security and technologically-integrated safety measures. In 2017, Kent State University’s campus was ranked as the 11th safest in the country according to the National Safety Council’s

The Kent State University Police Department is a fully staffed, fully accredited police department and is located near the center of campus. 

“Our police station is located behind the water tower and Jewish community center on Summit Street between Terrace Drive and Lincoln,” KSUPD Community Resource Officer Tricia Knoles said. “We are open 24/7, 365 days.”

According to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Kent State University is one of only four fully accredited university law enforcement agencies in Ohio. Others include Cleveland State University, Ohio State University and Cuyahoga Community College.

Kent State’s police department employs 32 police officers and 11 dispatchers. The dispatchers are certified in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation [CPR], and are certified Emergency Medical Dispatchers [EMD] and Automated External Defibrillators [AED] so they can “give pre-arrival instructions for medical emergencies,” Knoles said.

The police department also engages in community involvement in order to help familiarize students and faculty with the officers. “Our COPS [Community Oriented Police Services]  program assigns an officer to each academic building and residence hall to assist with any presentations and events,” Knoles said. 

Along with routinely walking through residence halls, officers in this program frequently help with public safety events. Additionally, the university often holds events such as Coffee with a Cop, pancake breakfasts and the Police Experience Citizen’s Academy.

In addition to having its own police station, Kent State University also has its own nationally accredited, student-staffed campus security department, which was founded in 1973, according to the office’s website.

“Campus security works from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. on weekends and patrol the residence halls doing hourly rounds to make sure that those areas are kept safe,” Knoles said. “They have direct radio contact with our dispatchers and contact us if police assistance is needed.” On weekdays, officers work until 2 a.m.

The police and security are available at all hours and both have several ways of staying connected with the community.

“We have a mass notification system and FlashAlerts in place to advise our community of emergencies,” Knoles said. “We also have approximately 50 blue light phones that are placed throughout campus in walkway areas and parking lots, that would give a person direct contact with our dispatchers.”  

The blue light phones, which are located at various points around campus, allow students to call for emergency services at any time. 

Each one has phone numbers listed to PARTA, Parking, and Residence Services and can be used to dial any on-campus phone number at any time, according to the Office of Public Safety. For police emergencies, officers can respond to any call in as little as thirty seconds, depending on traffic, Knoles says.

“The safety and security of the students, faculty, and staff is Kent State’s number one priority,” Knoles said.

 Alex Johnson is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]