KSU Police Department adds officers to its staff

Simon Husted

Campaign to make students feel safe

Kent State Police will focus on surveillance this semester with the addition of three officers and video cameras placed around the front campus and Esplanade.

One of the new officers, Anne Spahr, who is a former victim’s advocate in Summit County, will begin patrolling later this month. The other two new officers, Robert Clouden and Shauntya Brown, will continue training at the Kent State Police Academy until May.

Clouden is a former Kent State student and security aide supervisor at Residence Services. Brown worked part-time helping juvenile offenders prior to joining the department.

The three new officers aren’t replacements for lost officers but rather additions, according to Staff Lt. William Buckbee. Buckbee said this is the most substantial growth for the department since the late 1980s.

“Our attention with the three new officers is to get them out and get them visible,” Buckbee said.

Although the department did apply for federal grants last year, Buckbee said no new government money was responsible for the jobs.

The officers, coupled with new video cameras, will increase the campus’s “natural surveillance,” Buckbee said.

This concept of making the environment more welcoming and resourceful to pedestrians is known as “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.”

Buckbee said these initiatives would enhance safety on campus because students will be able to make more accurate judgments of how safe they are when walking. He added that it also limits vulnerable spots for aggressors to hide and take advantage of unaware pedestrians.

“Sometimes perception of safety is just as important as the reality of safety,” Buckbee said.

Outside of the “natural surveillance” initiatives, the Kent State Police have adopted no new policies to deter crime.

“The policies in place are pretty effective,” Buckbee said. “Everything is taken very seriously.”

Some students, like Jay Kadusky, agreed that expanding police visibility and surveillance is the correct approach.

“It’s a good idea playing it safe,” the freshman exploratory major said.

Other students like Jessica Meleg said there’s still more affordable avenues to keep students safe rather than adding three new jobs.

Meleg said the police and campus security should be more conscious about which areas they patrol at what times.

“When it comes to officers, they need to place them in areas they know kids are going to be walking,” the sophomore business major said.

Meleg added that she’s experienced first-hand how it feels to be a victim.

During the second week of fall semester, Meleg said she was walking back from the Robin Hood, a local bar, to her dorm one night when a random man approached her outside of Koonce Hall. He first asked if she could offer him a cigarette but once Meleg dug a 20 dollar bill out of her cigarette case, he demanded she hand it over. Scared for her well-being, Meleg complied.

“It was either I cut my losses or make this some sort of traumatic experience,” Meleg said.

She said she didn’t report the incident because the man didn’t use force and would have a hard time describing the crime.

Prior to the incident, Meleg said she only found one officer during her walk back near the Business Administration Building.

“It’s not that we need more (officers); it’s that they need to understand where kids are past 10, 11 p.m.”

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Simon Husted at

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