After the recent school shootings in Conn., the security of students, faculty and staff has become a priority for local governments and educational institutions. On Jan.17, a subcommittee in the Virginia General Assembly considered a bill that would require one school official to carry a concealed handgun on school property.
Although University of Richmond police officers are already armed, the department is now looking to students for help with enforcing security and safety measures.
“It’s something that’s been in the works for a couple of years now,” Lt. John Jacobs said. “We were able to get funding, and now the position has made it to student employment, as well.”
On Jan. 17, Spiderbytes included a notice from Jacobs titled “Student security position with campus police.” This job, “Public Safety Auxiliary Student Patrols,” is a non-sworn public safety position.
The police department has finished the interview process and has found 10 students to work the five-hour shifts. Workdays include Thursdays from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Fridays, 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and Saturdays, 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., as well as special events, Jacobs said.
“We’ve had quite a bit of interest in the positions,” Jacobs said. “We’ve got 10 people get started training, and we’re focusing on uniforms and equipment needs right now.”
Students on patrol will have direct contact with police through three-way radio and will serve as the “extra eyes and ears for the police,” Jacobs said. Other duties include escorting students who feel unsafe walking to a destination alone, but also don’t want to wait for the shuttle, Jacobs said. Jacobs said that to prepare the student patrol members for this job, students would go through several training courses. These courses, Jacobs said, would aim to make them comfortable with their security duties, teach them how to use a radio and spotlight different things to look for while they were on patrol. The courses also include bystander training and hands-on training with police security, Jacobs said.
Jacobs said Officer Paul Witten had put a lot of work into establishing the student security positions.
“Several other schools have this type of program,” Jacobs said. “Officer Witten and I both worked as student security patrols. That was 30 years ago, and they still have the program.”
Jacobs said that as soon as training, equipment and uniforms were taken care of, the students would begin their new patrol positions.
Contact staff writer Anika Kempke at firstname.lastname@example.org