University of Indianapolis Police Department bridges safety gaps between campus and police

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Crime is a universal and ongoing issue across the globe, but solving and preventing crimes from occurring functions similarly. While the University of Indianapolis is not an exception when it comes to criminals targeting locations to commit crimes, according to a public safety announcement issued by University President Robert Manuel via email, UIndy continues to focus leadership work on developing a robust and complete set of public safety measures for its community. The UIndy Police Department (PD) oversees campus security through daily interaction with students, faculty and staff, according to their website. UIndy PD also provides safety escort services, motorist assistance and courses and informational sessions to bolster campus safety.

Although these courses are offered, UIndy’s campus still experiences criminal activity. UIndy Police Chief David Selby said that UIndy PD has seen success when it comes to solving major crimes.

“We’re a community and there’s 16 of us [UIndy police officers],” Selby said. “So we’re looking after all of you guys the best we can.”

UIndy Police Lt. Brandon Pate said within his 16 years on the UIndy police force, there have been less than 10 unsolved cases. He said UIndy PD believes that most crime deterring is done through seeing officers in their vehicles or in buildings. When responding to calls that dispatch UIndy police officers, the average response time is approximately five to seven minutes, according to Pate. After responding, Pate said officers solve basic questions regarding the call including who, what, where, when, why and how.

“What I usually do, first thing, I ask for the person’s ID, just so I can read off their address, date of birth, all the information that they have,” Pate said. “And I’ll just start asking a question of, ‘Tell me from start to now exactly what happened. What’s your side of the story?’ And that allows us to listen and get a good idea of what the call is about.”

The initial interview helps UIndy police officers determine where they take the call and what call type it becomes, according to Pate. Based on the interview, calls can change from thefts to burglaries, or batteries to arguments which can differentiate between an investigation and an incident that can be resolved immediately, Pate said.

“There’s a process to it [investigating], and from someone on the outside looking in, if you did a deep dive, you would realize, ‘Wow, every question actually has an intention to it,’” Pate said.

It is important for students to do their part in keeping campus safe by being aware of who is brought onto campus to avoid putting themselves and others at risk for criminal activity, according to Selby. Pate said UIndy PD’s main focus is to keep criminal activity out of campus. In an effort to increase campus safety, Selby said that UIndy PD tries to put a barrier around UIndy.

“What we’re trying to do is develop that bubble or that barrier between our campus and whoever is doing the various acts out there,” Selby said. “They’re [UIndy police officers] out doing some of that, making traffic stops, they go in and walk in buildings [and] we try to talk to students.”

Selby said that UIndy PD has continued to engage with students and student-run organizations, including the Black Student Association. UIndy PD conducted a traffic stop training seminar following conversations with students that sparked interest, according to Selby. Along with the traffic stop training, Pate said UIndy PD holds self-defense training classes and disaster simulation training with the nursing classes. They also work with the Department of Criminal Justice to teach courses and are currently working with the Department of Engineering to develop various projects.

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