The Marquette University Police Department Advisory Board met Oct. 25 for its first meeting of the academic year.
The board discussed MUPD’s relationship with the Milwaukee Police Department at the meeting.
Within the last 12 months, MUPD took over 450 calls for service that were passed down from MPD.
MUPD Interim Chief Jeff Kranz said he believes this will be beneficial and is a sign that MPD is “adapting” to MUPD’s presence.
“We have the staffing for it, and it’s also good because it helps us to maintain a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the patrol zone … any type of crime, we’re picking up on it,” Kranz said. “If you have two different agencies responding, we’re going to miss a lot of data that is being gathered.”
Other members of the board, including MUPD Advisory Board chair Thomas Hammer, said MUPD tends to have faster response times to calls.
“A couple months ago, I saw from a distance a very bad accident on 11th and Wisconsin,” Hammer said. “I called MUPD rather than MPD, and you guys had four squads there in a matter of moments. That’s really quite impressive.”
Kranz told the board that robberies near and on campus have gone down, with only eight robberies occurring as of July 31, compared to 12 robberies at the same time last year. However, there was an increase in batteries and assaults. There were 27 batteries and assaults as of July 31 compared to 15 at the same time last year. Property and retail thefts remained steady, with most retail thefts occurring at Walgreens or 7-Eleven.
Kranz said he and the other officers have noticed fewer altercations involving students drinking alcohol on the street. Kranz said he believes this is because MUPD cracked down on underage drinking this year.
Active Shooter Initiative Update
Thursday night was the first open active shooter training session at the Alumni Memorial Union. In the past, MUPD gave active shooter safety presentations only to departments that requested it, but now there are presentations in the AMU that any member of the Marquette community can attend. The department is also altering the presentation itself.
“We found early on when we were giving this (presentation) we were king of selling the threat to people,” Kranz said. “There was a lot of, ‘It’s never going to happen here, bury your head in the sand.’ We aren’t seeing that anymore. People want this training. We’re shifting the training to focus on warning signs of active shooters and preventative interventions that can take place before these events occur.”
Over the summer, MUPD surveyed all academic buildings on campus to identify areas that can be used as safe rooms. It is now working to make these rooms safe in a cost-effective way, Kranz said.
Eagle Eye App
The board discussed Eagle Eye, MUPD’s new safety app, which it introduced right before this year’s freshmen moved to campus.
The school worked with the company App Armor to develop an app for iOS and Android, MUPD Capt. Katie Berigan said.
“It’s really a one-stop-shop for everything MUPD,” MUPD Capt. Katie Berigan said in the meeting.
The app features a virtual Blue-Light Phone, an emergency procedures guide, a way to track a student’s location on campus as he or she walks home and a page about Nattie, MUPD’s community outreach dog.
Berigan said she hopes to pick up advertising for the app soon.
Diversity Liaison Officer Program
MUPD continues to work on its Diversity Liaison Officer Program. MUPD now has five diversity liaison officers and their goal is to be a resource for students who want to talk about an issue concerning discrimination with an officer instead of filing a formal complaint.
The program was enacted this month, designed to bring a community together with MUPD and support those who feel they have been racially profiled.
Leaders of the program MUPD Sgt. Glenn Berrios-Schroeder said the program is something to utilize to bring the Marquette community together with the police and bridge the gap of misunderstanding.
“We’re trying to figure out a way to better convey how we do things when we interact with the general public,” Kranz said.