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Opinion

University Police provide more than just security

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May 9, 2013

I recently heard some students bashing University Police (UP) saying that all they do is ruin the fun and that they are not even real police officers so they shouldn’t be able to pull people over and give tickets.

I have to admit that when I first came to UW-River Falls I also thought that they were more like security and were here to just help keep order and lock up buildings.

However, not far into my freshman year here at UWRF I realized that UP does way more than that.

The services that UP offered me as a student helped to make me feel safe and like there was always someone there when I needed help with anything.

They are here to serve the students and do everything they can to make sure that students are safe. They are not fun-suckers. They are not just security guys or rent-a-cops. The police officers at UWRF are licensed officers.

They are responsible for protecting and serving the University community and visitors as well. In order to do that, they do have to write tickets and pull people over, and while it may seem like they are just taking all the fun away, they are keeping us safe.

I am graduating very soon, May 18 to be exact, and I want students to know that UP offers so much that often goes unnoticed.

In my freshman year I would occasionally go home to work on the weekends and come back late on Sunday nights.

At that time, I parked in the W lot down by Ramer Field and lived in Johnson Hall.

My mom did not like that I would have to walk back to my dorm from my car late at night by myself, so she found out that UP gives walking escorts to students in situations just like mine and she made me promise to call and get one so I would be safe.

I have called UP at least eight times throughout my time here at UWRF for an escort and they are always more than happy to help me out.

The officers are nice, and they are glad that students are being cautious and using their service if they are even a little bit worried about walking alone.

The walking escort service that UP offers is shown on their webpage, but there are so many other things that they do and services they provide that are not described on the webpage.
This past winter after one of the bad storms, I needed to get to work, but my car was stuck on a patch of ice in the parking lot.

I cleared snow away and did everything I could think of to get out, but I just couldn’t. There was no one around at the time and the only thing I could think of was to call UP for help.

The officer I talked to was sympathetic and came right over to help. He pushed my car and helped me get it out and I was so thankful that he took time to do that for me.

When I thanked him and told him how grateful I was that he would come over and help me he said “my pleasure, we’re here to help in any way that we can.”

I saw other officers helping students as well during those stormy winter days, and I have seen them on campus when car batteries die, tires are flat, etc.

The officers respond to all calls no matter how small because they really just want to serve the University and keep our campus safe.

It is not only students who UP offers its services to. Officer Matt Peterson said that recently he received a call that a toilet was backed up in the Agricultural Science building. Naturally, he responded to it. He then received a call from a professor saying that he had locked himself out of his office and responded to that as well.

“We are the keeper of the keys so everyone calls us,” Peterson said.

Sure, the officers write tickets and sometimes pull people over, but that is only part of their job.

You can call them what you will, but to me they are not fun-suckers at all. They provide an invaluable service to UWRF.

I hope that students will make use of their services and be sure to thank them for keeping our campus safe.

Brittany Flatten is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in international studies. When she graduates from UW-River Falls, she wants to become a foreign correspondent in Brussels, Belgium.