The University of Toledo Police Department is looking to strengthen its relationships with students with the help of a $40,000 state grant.
UTPD is one of 20 law enforcement agencies in Ohio to receive this grant from the Office of Criminal Justice Service. According to a university press release, the grant is to help support the police department’s efforts to increase community policing programs on campus.
UTPD is very positive about its initiatives to reach out to the student body, said UT police chief and director of public safety Jeff Newton.
“Keeping students safe is the first priority for all of us here at the University of Toledo, and it is important that we all work together to ensure our campus remains a safe and welcoming place for everyone to study and work,” Newton said. “This additional state support will allow officers to expand the outreach we already do to engage students, faculty and staff about the safety resources available to them.”
First-year nursing student Megan Koehler said she is positive about the grant and is looking forward to a safer campus.
“I think the new programs will help the officers be more personable with the students, and that, in turn, will help students be more comfortable with them if an emergency situation is to occur,” Claire Minniear, a third-year law and social thought major, said.
The police department has already implemented many different programs and plans to establish more throughout the year.
On Sept. 20, UTPD hosted the Office of Public Safety Day in the Varsity T Pavilion and nearby south tennis courts and south basketball courts. Students and other members of the UT community met police officers, security staff and the health and safety officials who serve campus. Attendees saw the public safety vehicle fleet, ate pizza and played basketball, tennis, corn hole and other games with the staff.
On the same day, the police department held one of its personal safety and self-defense classes in the Student Recreation Center. They will be hosting these classes frequently throughout the fall semester, along with ALICE training. ALICE, which is an acronym that stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, is a national program that instructs participants on how to survive an active shooter situation.
In addition to these, the UT community can attend “Pizza with the Police” Oct. 11 at noon in Carter Hall’s main lobby. Students and staff will be able to discuss safety concerns with the officers.
“This is going to help us all get familiar with them,” Yuhraj Pondey, a fourth-year civil engineering major, said.
According to a university press release, UTPD is even increasing its social media outreach to engage with students more. The department is sharing important public safety information on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
“Social media is constantly used by students to receive news information, so it’s good the police department has social media accounts to relay their news,” said Pondey.
Additional community engagement events are scheduled throughout the academic year.