MPD, DPS: Joint force in campus security

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Marquette’s Department of Public Safety and the Milwaukee Police Department have a new office in order to work together to increase safety on campus. Photo by Caitlin Burke / Caitlin.Burke@marquette.edu

Just as Gordon Bombay’s Mighty Ducks always flew together, Marquette’s Department of Public Safety and the Milwaukee Police Department work side-by-side to form a team that keeps the streets of and around Marquette’s campus safe.

Since DPS’ inception in 1967, it has worked with MPD to keep not only Marquette students safe, but protect those who live in the surrounding areas as well. And in recent years, they believe they have taken their job to the next level.

“Our officers (DPS and MPD) work closely together,” said Lt. Paul Mascari of DPS. “Any information we have, we share with them, and any information they have, they share with us.”

DPS handles all situations involving students until municipal action must be taken, then MPD takes over.

The Avenues West police station on the 2100 block of West Wells Street acts as the channel for MPD-DPS communication. DPS always has at least one officer on hand at the station.

MPD officers Mark Dudenhoefer and John Pruitt work at the Avenues West station as part of the neighborhood street patrol program.

“We work together in the aspect that we have common goals,” Dudenhoefer said. “Reduction of crime and disorder (and) keeping a safe neighborhood (are a few goals). It’s really a no-brainer; it’s good for everybody.”

One of the biggest advantages of working so closely together is the familiarity amongst the DPS and MPD officers.

“They have our cell phone numbers, we have theirs, so we can communicate in a timely fashion,” Dudenhoefer said. “Let’s say DPS has a problem. As opposed to going through the dispatcher, they can contact us directly.”

That connection can also help officers bypass some of the bureaucratic red tape they would otherwise deal with.

“We can avoid going up our chain of command over to theirs and then down their chain of command,” Dudenhoefer said.

Without their close relationship, communication would take considerably longer, affecting response time.

For example, if DPS is detaining a person of interest and needs assistance, a DPS squad car will drive over to Avenues West and pick up an officer, which greatly decreases the response time.

“Just the nature of us being in Milwaukee puts us in a situation that we can work together,” Mascari said. “But recently we’ve even started training with them. The familiarity level helps us run things and work together.”

Students can sometimes forget DPS does more than keep Marquette students safe. They also help MPD patrol the surrounding area, just as MPD helps deal with students.

“We have businesses and people that live in the area besides students,” Dudenhoefer said. “They’ll call DPS first because of how many officers they see patrolling the area. Just with the number of officers they have patrolling the area, they are able to respond very quickly.”

Pruitt said he enjoys working with DPS because of their professionalism and how well-trained they are. Mascari returned the respect.

“I really can’t say enough about how good (our relationship) is with MPD,” he said.

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