WSU Police Chief, Bill Gardner, discusses campus issues with Advisory Board members.
Having kept a low profile for the last few years, the WSU Police Advisory Board (PAB) is undergoing a reorganization effort that aims to increase awareness and participation across the campus community.
“We encourage people to come to our meetings,” said Kim Barrett, advisory board chair and events coordinator for the Women’s Resource Center. “We want to know what issues people are really concerned about.”
The board – open to WSU staff, students and faculty members – meets the first Tuesday of each month during the academic year to discuss safety issues and other matters affecting the university and City of Pullman. Board members present their findings to the WSU Police Department along with specific recommendations for action.
Twice a year, the group also meets with the Pullman police advisory board to discuss issues of common concern – such as safety in the College Hill area or the status of the “Code Blue” phones scattered across campus.
At their March PAB meeting, representatives from YWCA, ITS Distributed Support Services, Facilities Operations, College of Liberal Arts, Health and Wellness Services, Women’s Transit and the Police Department discussed plans to raise visibility of the board through the International Lentil Festival and the WSU All-Campus Picnic .
The group also outlined a series of monthly public forums they hope to launch next fall – as a way to provide the WSU police and campus community more chance to network.
Forum topics could range from self defense, hate crimes and what to do if there is a shooter on campus – to frequently asked questions at the police department such as how to report a crime or deconstruct Washington statutory law.
Problems on the perimeter
Of particular concern to the group is the distribution of the code blue phones – or more specifically – the lack of them in remote and isolated areas of the university.
“A lot of our crime occurs around the residence halls,” said Bill Gardner, WSU Police Chief, “but that is not where the (blue light) calls are coming from. The legitimate calls are mostly coming from outlying phones.”
Gardner said he tends to worry about places like the parking lot on Spring Street – perimeter areas of the campus that are very isolated and report a higher crime rate.
Bill Arnhold, construction project coordinator for Facilities Operations, agrees saying that although they receive many crank calls from phones along Stadium Way, the valid calls are coming from areas like Yakama Village and Sloan Hall.
The WSU police advisory board would like to provide input on the best locations to place new phones and welcomes suggestions from the university community. For the future, they are looking at the plausibility of adding cameras or speakers to the more remote phones.
“We currently have four law enforcement cameras around Stadium Way and Wilson Road,” said Gardner. “As we expand (the code blue system) … adding more cameras might be something to consider.”
For meeting locations and other information, see online @ www.pab.wsu.edu or contact Kim Barrett at 509-335-4386 or firstname.lastname@example.org