Marquette Wire

MUPD Advisory Board hears tech, community engagement update

A+student+was+hit+by+a+car+at+the+intersection+of+17th+and+Wells+Streets.+Marquette+Wire+stock+photo.
A student was hit by a car at the intersection of 17th and Wells Streets. Marquette Wire stock photo.

A student was hit by a car at the intersection of 17th and Wells Streets. Marquette Wire stock photo.

A student was hit by a car at the intersection of 17th and Wells Streets. Marquette Wire stock photo.

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The Marquette University Police Department Advisory Board met to hear department updates and upcoming initiatives March 23.

Campus safety

Interim Chief Jeffrey Kranz said MUPD has been “flooded with requests” for active shooter training following the massacre of 17 students in Parkland, Florida, in February. He said he did not receive the same volume of requests following the Las Vegas shooting that occurred last semester.

In response to concern that active shooter training is not provided to all students, Kranz said MUPD has offered open sessions to students in the past and plans to do so again in the future, but the sessions received starkly low attendance, making them difficult to sustain.

The board also discussed pedestrian safety and proposed several ideas to make Wells Street safer at the 14th and 15th Street intersections. Among the proposals was one to install either flashing yellow lights or yield signs.

Body camera update

MUPD Captain Katie Berrigan told the board that MUPD would likely select Motorola as its body camera vendor. This is a departure from Axon, the vendor the department previously planned to work with.

Berrigan said the switch was the result of a combination of variables, including that officers preferred Motorola over Axon. She said MUPD already finished a trial of the cameras, which involved four officers and a shift commander testing the equipment over three months.

The department had been considering Axon because it offered cloud-based storage for body camera data, but Motorola has developed its own cloud-based evidence management system, which Berrigan said was comparable.

MUPD has negotiated a five-year, $237,000 contract with Motorola, which would include unlimited digital storage and the replacement of equipment every 30 months, Berrigan said. That funding will require approval from the Board of Trustees.

Berrigan said the body camera program is a necessary step for MUPD to respond to public expectations. 

Crime update

Kranz told the board that violent crime has been decreasing, with zero reported robberies so far in 2018. He said unattended property thefts are still occurring and that he would like to increase student education to reduce future thefts.

He also said MUPD has dealt with a few cases of students dealing marijuana in the residence halls and that officers are working to combat that concern.

Kranz said that campus safety text and email alerts have not been discontinued, in response to concern that they had possibly been terminated.

Community outreach

The board discussed community outreach dog Nattie’s success as a tool for community engagement, citing increased student-officer interactions and increased attendance at “Coffee with a Cop,” the department’s community forum. 

“I’ve seen (Nattie) open doors to a lot,” Kranz said.

Ensuring the homeless population surrounding the community are cared for came up as well, namely the concern with panhandling. Members asked what MUPD could do about this.

“We just try to keep them moving,” Kranz said. “Are you going to write a ticket to a guy with no money?”

The board plans to meet again at the end of the academic year in May.

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