Did you notice the article about Department of Public Safety’s Evelyn Diaz on the front page? We hope so. We also hope that you will open up the paper to continue reading profiles of DPS officers each Tuesday in the coming weeks, which are part of our new series to introduce students to the women and men behind the uniforms. This is because it’s not only nice to put a name to a face, but it is also important to get to know who is protecting you on campus.
To be clear, we don’t recommend becoming familiar with DPS because we think it will help you get out of trouble. Rather, you should socialize with these officers because establishing a relationship is essential in building trust and respect.
This trust includes believing the officers have your well-being at heart. They are doing their jobs because they have a genuine care and compassion for the Marquette community, not just because it helps them pay the bills.
We juniors and seniors at the Tribune have especially fond memories of our first years at Marquette because we knew DPS had our backs around campus. Friday and Saturday nights, we would count on safety officers to make sure we didn’t get mugged or have unwanted visitors stopping by off-campus get-togethers.
But in looking at this year’s freshmen class, we are not sure if they have this same sort of understanding and appreciation for DPS. This shift in perspective could be attributed to the change in alcohol policy, which has possibly resulted in more fear and less trust between students and officers, but that policy change alone should not take away from the gratitude this university’s safety staff deserves from students.
It is much easier to appreciate DPS as people if you get to know these officers as people, not just as the “bad guys” who could potentially write you up for a policy violation.
We’ve seen some very positive changes in the Department of Public Safety during the last few years. Last fall, when the campus was hit with a stream of muggings, DPS stepped up its presence and could be seen patrolling anywhere and everywhere in the area.
Perhaps the most significant change is the use of the new safety alerts. Not only are students now alerted via text message when a crime occurs around campus, they are also emailed an in-depth description of the suspects. We believe this new system is much more effective than previous years’ non-descriptive emails that could have been copied, pasted and sent out from one alert to the next.
And in reality, DPS officers do much more than issue safety alerts and drive around monitoring campus. They may drive you home when the wait for a LIMO seems endless or after an especially late night in the library. They may help you when you are sick and make sure you get home safely. They may even spend hours digging through dumpsters when your purse or wallet gets stolen before attending to the mounds of paperwork these incidents require.
Some people may laugh at the DPS reports published in each edition of the Tribune, and sometimes, student activity detailed in these reports is indeed entertaining. Student safety, however, is nothing to joke about. We think you would (or at least should) prefer to know someone is looking out for your safety when your judgment might be lacking rather than wandering around alone without any form of surveillance to protect you.
The bottom line is this: DPS is your friend. Start treating them like it. Don’t make fake Twitter accounts mocking them, and don’t harass them when you’ve had too much to drink. And the next time you’re getting swiped into your residence hall at 3 a.m. or you pass an officer on the sidewalk, make sure you say thank you. These men and women deserve much more than new patrol vehicles and a big set of key rings.