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Serving on Campus: The MS&T University Police

Rolla is fortunate to have not only one, but two police departments functioning within city limits. The Missouri S&T University Police Departments focuses on the campus community here in town, but that doesn t mean they are anything other than a full-fledged police department.

CORBIN KOTTMANN – [email protected]

Rolla is fortunate to have not only one, but two police departments functioning within city limits. The Missouri S&T University Police Departments focuses on the campus community here in town, but that doesn t mean they are anything other than a full-fledged police department. University Police Chief Doug Roberts spoke about how their team fulfills their duties on campus while assisting other departments when the need arises.

The University Police Department s primary responsibility would be to the campus community, said Chief Roberts. However we are reserve officers in the city of Rolla, so we ll assist, on occasion, the Rolla Police Department or any department out here that has a call for service. When these other departments are dealing with a large amount of calls or an emergency situation, the University Police will often respond to service calls to help lighten the load. The various departments are in constant communication with each other.

We listen to each other to see if there s something going on that we can be of assistance with, said Chief Roberts. The local community here, the law enforcement community especially, has very open dialogue. There s a lot of communication between the different entities. Chief Roberts and the rest of the University Police team are able to respond to these situations the same as any other department, and boast the same amount of training.

Every officer that carries a weapon on this campus is a trained police officer, said Chief Roberts. They ve had to go through an academy, whether sponsored by the department or self-paid. Chief Robert s own academy was in Kansas City. His department currently has 12 police officers as well as a security guard and support staff along with them. According to Chief Roberts, focusing on the campus has several benefits that wouldn t be found in a city or county department.

I think you have a lot of teachable moments on the college campus, he said. You have students that may not understand the ramifications of their actions and you get to explain it to them a little more.

Chief Roberts said they are also able to engage more with the campus community, driving around the different areas where students live and walking around the campus.

We have opportunities to engage with people a little more than a typical officer just because we re out amongst everyone a little more. In addition to patrolling around campus, the team also offers support at special events and help with small things such as letting students into their dorms when they re locked out.

It s a little more personal service than you would see in a larger department, said Chief Roberts. He added that just saying good morning or good afternoon to the students he comes into contact with creates positive interaction opportunities and exposure. These positive interactions create more trust between the students and the department, allowing them to do their job with greater efficiency on campus, and lets students feel like they can report incidents to the proper individuals. Stacey Smith, communications chief with the Rolla Police Department, said Chief Roberts and his staff are wonderful to work with.

We truly appreciate their willingness to assist Rolla Police Officers when we need them. They are a valued resource for us and for the entire Rolla community. Smith said they have been dispatching for the University Police for approximately six years, and really value the partnership that has grown between them.

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