Campus police strengthen Elon community partnerships

Elon University’s Campus Safety & Police Department hired four new officers over the summer as part of a renewed focus on crime prevention by working with students and staff on a personal level. Details…

Elon University police Cpl. Darla White demonstrates the department’s new “IT” electric car, which gives four new community police officers the ability to drive on campus brick sidewalks.
Officers plan to speak with student groups, participate in civic events and keep watch over the university using foot and bike patrols. Each officer will also be assigned a neighborhood on campus to organize “Campus Watch” programs similar to many neighborhood watches.

Campus police adopted the Community Oriented Policing program three years ago.  Dubbed “C.O.P.S.,” the new officers allow Lt. Vickie Moehlman, who handled everything single-handedly until now, to expand its reach.

“You need officers who can talk to people,” Moehlman said. “You don’t want an officer tied to a radio, then have to go to a call, when he or she is trying to interact with the public.”

The benefits to community oriented policing were witnessed Sept. 14 when faculty and staff notified police after laptops disappeared from academic offices. An associate professor of biology spotted the man on campus and called officers, which led to an arrest less than an hour after the first laptop was reported stolen.

In addition to patrols and attending events, the four officers will conduct security surveys, where they walk through an administrative building or a residence hall to assess ways for Elon students and faculty to better prevent crime.

One other gadget in the campus police toolbox: A compact electric vehicle that puts the C.O.P.S. officers directly on campus rather than being limited to patrolling the perimeter on town roads.

“Please take advantage of the numerous opportunities to work with our officers to make our community safer,” Moehlman said in the most recent edition of the Elon Siren, the department’s newsletter to the campus community. “If we work together, we can keep our campus safe.”