UPD aims to serve students

From populated east coast cities to small towns in western North Dakota, the student population of UND can be traced to many parts of the country.

But a common concern among many new students is safety.

The University Police Department provides many resources and answers that students are looking for.

“Our mission is to provide a safe and protected environment,” UPD Chief Officer Eric Plummer said. “Not only for students, but also for faculty, staff and visitors.”

UPD offers services such as a safety escort program, which students can contact so they don’t have to walk alone when they feel unsafe. In addition, UPD offers programs regarding the prevention of sexual violence, protecting personal property and crime reporting.

After serving the UND community for over six months, Plummer has had the opportunity to seek student input on improving UPD’s presence on campus.

“I’ve had the opportunity to walk and talk with organizations, with students in general and with faculty and staff,” Plummer said. “A lot of the messages were that students wanted consistency and visibility. We are putting things into progress to make things happen.”

Although students may be aware of its presence on campus, something they may not be aware of about the internal workings of UPD is the interaction between officers and students.

“We’re looking at putting an officer in the Memorial Union to man a resource desk for us,” Plummer said. “That way, there’s some visibility; but there’s some chance for students to ask questions. Right now, UPD is kind of in an out of the way location, so we’re trying to put ourselves in a more visible location to promote student interaction.”

Other initiatives that UPD is looking to execute include a vehicle boost and unlock service.

Typically, UPD receives calls from students regarding questions that they might have. It also sees many students visit the office for resources such as fingerprinting or presentations.

Students are encouraged to call UPD when they have questions and concerns, but when there’s an emergency, it is necessary to call 911.

“Stop in and talk to us or go to our website,” Plummer said. “We’re trying to be a little more user-friendly with our website. We’re trying to utilize social media-type situations so we can push information out to the students so they are more aware of some of the programs we have currently. Also to get feedback about what the students and the community prefer to be enacted on campus.”

The transition into college yields many changes for incoming students, and Plummer encourages them to think about safety on campus and utilize resources such as UPD.

“They should be aware of their safety,” Plummer said. “A lot of students, when they transition from high school to college, they are still in that small-town, high-school mentality where they can set their items down and walk away or they can leave their doors unlocked and walk away and their things will be there when they get back.

“We have to get them to be more aware of their surroundings and make them more informed, so that they make good choices and decisions.”

Erickson can be reached at [email protected]