Student leader wants security expanded

Student Government Director of Academic Affairs Billy Schmidt has big plans for improving safety on campus. But he’s going to need money and volunteers before his plan can become a reality.

Schmidt has been busy drawing up a proposal for the addition of a Community Service Unit, which he said would need 10 to 20 student volunteers to aid University Police.

The proposal has not yet been put on the table, but Schmidt has e-mailed several UP captains and plans to present his idea to the new UP chief after he takes his position on May 22.

Some possible duties Schmidt wrote in the proposal include inspections of University property, parking and permit regulations, traffic direction, motor assistance, security and auto-theft prevention.

Regulating curbside parking along Holly Drive was also one of Schmidt’s concerns.

Although Schmidt has not calculated the exact cost of the CSU, he thinks with the help of volunteers – who would receive some training – the program would help reduce UP’s overtime costs.

“(They could do) little things that either the sworn officers or the security officers, who are also paid, have to do,” Schmidt said. “It would help them just being able to have an extra presence there to do things.”

University Police Captain John Withrow said he would appreciate the help, but the CSU would be an addition, not a replacement.

“An officer could provide security services and make arrests where necessary, so one person could do a lot, but security folks can only do security stuff,” Withrow said. You can’t replace (officers), but it would be great to consider additional security personnel to augment or add to the law enforcement officers.”

Schmidt said the program would be highly beneficial to those choosing a career in criminology or other social service work and suggested implementing a class or an internship.

“Overall, this will just help initiate a little bit of student involvement in this whole process of keeping themselves safer,” Schmidt said. “Since the Magnolia murder, I’ve heard several students talk about things we need to do, whether it be traffic, whether it be safety on campus or whether it be preventing auto theft.”

According to Schmidt’s proposal, the used police cars, which could be donated or bought from government auction sites, would be the biggest expense; used police cars range from $5,000 to $30,000.