Anonymous Encounters with Public Safety: How Effective Are They?

4 mins read

Public Safety isn’t exactly every Drew student’s favorite department, but an entity that works to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the student body is a necessity on all college campuses. Problems arise when the student body seriously doubts the effectiveness of Public Safety. On Drew’s Meet the Officers webpage, they advertise that DPD stands for, “Dedication, Pride, [and] Dependability,” but some question Public Safety’s level of dependability. How many times have you heard fellow Drew students saying, “If I ever have a real problem, I’ll go to Madison PD.”?

One group of students questioned if Public Safety is truly out to watch out for the wellbeing of students or if they are just simply looking to write them up for offenses. They recounted how they went out into the woods behind Tolley/Brown late at night in order to search for one of Drew’s famous ghosts and investigate a fort built by former students. On their way out of the forest, the students encountered three Public Safety officers who questioned what they were doing out past midnight. After explaining their reasons, the students said that the officers told them that they had seen them going into the woods and waited at the entrance to question them.

One of the students said, “If they were really concerned about our safety, they would have stopped us from going in when they saw us.”

Another added, “I think they just wanted to catch a couple of stoners and when they saw we weren’t under the influence of anything, they let us off with a warning. In my opinion, since they told us they saw us going in and told us how dangerous it supposedly was, I really believe they should have came up to us and stopped us. The whole situation was a little ridiculous. I didn’t see any sign saying the woods closed at dusk. I wasn’t aware the forest could close, actually.”

Public Safety isn’t just here to make rounds of the T/B circle on weekends; they are supposed to serve important roles in all of Drew student activities. A student athlete detailed how Public Safety let down a Drew recreational sports team. He said, “They didn’t send an EMT to one of our rugby games after I had contacted them and was told that someone would be there. Someone could have gotten seriously injured and we wouldn’t have had any medical personnel to treat them. I contacted Maria Trindade who told me that an EMT would be present at our game, and no one showed up.”

These sentiments that Public Safety is inept and removed from the Drew community are troubling. When students do end up needing help, how will this pervasive attitude toward Public Safety impact where they turn to?  

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