With the start of the fall semester, both the Ohio State University Police and the Columbus Division of Police are preparing for the surge of students coming back to campus.
While fall always signals an increase of students coming back to Columbus, OSU’s campus will be hosting more students than usual with the implementation of the Second-year Transformational Experience Program, which has second-year students living on-campus. Factor in football season coinciding with the beginning of fall semester and guaranteeing safety around campus becomes an even larger task for officers.
In addition to hiring one new police officer, University Police is staying committed to making safety a priority to everyone and generally creating a better environment for all community members thanks to a new partnership with the Department of Athletics.
“A portion of Ohio Stadium football and event revenue will be used to fund two new full-time OSUPD positions,” said spokesman Dan Hedman in an email. “Two new, full-time officers will bolster our security presence and enhance campus safety year-round.”
Along with increasing the number of officers, University Police Chief Craig Stone said he reinstated a former program to increase the security presence on campus.
“I have also re-implemented bike patrols on campus which will improve officer visibility, mobility and increase opportunities to interact with the campus community,” Stone said in an email.
Stone will meet with students at the Ohio Union next Tuesday through Friday to hear campus community members voice their feelings and concerns about campus safety. He has also started a new initiative called the Community Police Academy to continue building relationships and trust with the community.
Many students use bicycles as a means for transportation while on campus and with more students on campus, the opportunity for bicycle thieves rises as well. In an attempt to prevent theft, University Police encourage all bicyclers to utilize a “U-Lock” on their bicycles or, as an alternative, use OSU’s bike-sharing program –– which allows students access to 115 bicycles around campus for $35 for the year or $6 for the day.
OSUPD is also encouraging students to utilize the transportation services provided by the university such as the Student Safety Service Safe Ride which operates from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. on nights and weekends.
University Police also advises any student on campus to be cautious and aware of their surroundings when walking around campus at night. The department recommends students to walk in groups and avoid walking alone when possible.
If a student sees any suspicious activity on campus, reports can be made to the University Police at 614-292-2121. If a student sees a crime occurring off campus, the report can be made with the Columbus Division of Police at 614-645-4545.