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The Student News Site of Buena Vista University

The Tack Online

The Student News Site of Buena Vista University

The Tack Online

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Community policing: Right for BVU?

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“I think community policing is important for every size jurisdiction,” said Storm Lake Police Chief Chris Cole. “I think it’s very important to build those connections and break down the barriers.” 

This is a similar philosophy that campus security at Buena Vista hopes to instill. Community policing aims for security and law enforcement to meet their residents where they are comfortable, in their homes or public spaces. 

 It is not necessarily a new way of doing things, but one that seems to be a popular direction that many security and law enforcement officers want to go. 

Jessica Garling, Director of Campus Security, would like to see the community of BVU take charge of its policing. This involves witnesses or those with information regarding different incidents on campus coming forward to help security find the perpetrators. This avoids whole floors or even buildings from being fined for various acts of vandalism or theft. The threat of fines can help witnesses come forward, however. 

“Just because you have one or two bad eggs out there doesn’t mean the whole community is out doing terrible things,” said Garling when talking about the fining strategy. “They don’t want to be fined,” she said and that is not the security team’s goal, but rather it is a measure to stop future incidents. 

Many have asked the question about the use of security cameras on campus. However, Garling feels they do not do what many think they do. It can be hard to identify individuals from video and the measure is reactive in nature whereas Garling and her team want to be preventative.  

Garling has experience with a security team that relied a lot on cameras when she worked at a different private institution.  

“We had so many cameras,” said Garling. However, they still had trouble identifying perpetrators on video and actually solving various crimes on campus. Due to this experience, Garling believes that those who work and live within the BV community must hold each other accountable and report incidents when they see them. 

A study done by Yale University found that when officers and residents had positive interactions, even just once, it greatly improved attitudes towards the police and built trust. The study shows what is possible with good relations between residents and those who serve them. 

The BVU security team aims to do something similar. They want to build relations and trust with the student body and surrounding community. The hope is that through that trust, there will be a greater number of people reporting incidents and maintenance issues as they arise so campus security can work to improve the quality of life of Buena Vista and its community.  

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Jaxon Van Pelt
My name is Jaxon Van Pelt and I am a sophomore at BVU. I am a Sports Business and Digital Media double major. I am on the baseball team here at Buena Vista and I enjoy sports, video games, and movies.

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