The main difference between campus security and Kent State Police is a matter of power.
While campus security enforces university policy, police enforce both policy and the law.
University policy details acceptable on-campus behavior, such as quiet hours and visitation times in the residence halls. A student’s failure to comply can lead to a appearance in front of a residence hall director or, if the situation is serious enough, judicial affairs.
Meanwhile, the police have the ability to charge people with criminal offenses.
Alice Ickes, a Kent State police officer, said the campus benefits from having both a security organization and a police department.
“Safety and security is handled well when it’s a collaborative effort,” Ickes said. “We’re really proud of the way it works here on campus.”
Campus security aides begin their work at 8 p.m., walking the grounds and residence halls. Until 4 a.m., aides check that exterior doors are locked, that fire equipment is working properly and, among other things, they check that stoves in public kitchens are off.
The yellow-shirted security aides are students who have been well trained.
“They are students just like any other student,” campus security manager Brian Hellwig said. “This just happens to be their job. They’re there to help and assist other students.”
The most common policy offense security aides encounter on patrol are noise violations. The first violation results in a warning. Repeat offenders will be documented, Hellwig said.
When situations arise that are too serious for campus security, the aides can call for police assistance over their radios.
“Usually they call us when they’re trying to deal with people who are difficult or uncooperative or abusive to them,” Ickes said.
Police make few arrests on campus, Ickes said, mostly because officers know where to find people. She also said Kent State Police understand students better than other non-university police departments.
“We require that our officers have two or more years of college,” Ickes said. “It makes them familiar with the college community and also the day to day experience of someone who is a student.”
Ickes said the police at Kent State are very service oriented.
“You’ll probably never fly a police helicopter,” Ickes said. “You’ll unlock doors, change tires, give directions, do sidewalk counseling.”
The most common problem police encounter is theft. Ickes said getting students to realize that a theft they experienced may not be an isolated incident is one of the department’s greatest challenges.
“There’s sort of a self criticism that goes on – ‘I left the door open,'” she said. “No, this is your residence. You don’t deserve to be stolen from.”
Contact news editor Steven Bushong at [email protected]
POLICE VS SECURITY
• Kent State Police
Transport: 7 cars
Reports in 2006: 6,980
• Campus Security
Reports in 2006: 3,261