UNC PD officers work to keep campus safe

By Amanda Vaughan

Gray Hall looks more like a house than a police department. A tiny garden and bench sit in the front yard. A small stair case leads to the front doors. Inside those doors is a small enclosed entry way where visitors can check in.

Gray Hall, home of the UNC Police Department, was built in 1916.

Gray Hall, home of the UNC Police Department, was built in 1916. Photo by Amanda Vaughan

Past the second doors is a reception desk where students can pick up parking permits and take care of parking tickets.

Next to those desks to the left is an old fireplace with chairs scattered around it. One would never guess that inside this building is the headquarters for the UNC police.

The police department is staffed with 15 certified officers divided into two teams. Police Chief Mikel Longman is in charge of the department, while Sgt. Ken Craft and Sgt. Chris Krause are each in charge of one of the teams. Included in those teams are two full-time detectives.

Even though the student population at UNC is growing, the police department will not add any officers in the near future.

“It is a longterm goal to add more officers,” Longman said. “We are on the low end of officer per student ratio.”

Although the ratio is low, students in general feel safe when on campus.

 “I feel very safe on campus,” said Bobbi Jackson, a senior at UNC. “But I’m always there during the day.”

The UNC police have created several ways for students to feel safe on campus, no matter the time of day.

There are 18 emergency telephones around campus that immediately connect to the UNC police department. The police department is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

They also provide an escort service for students who feel unsafe walking late at night.

Just before Spring Break, a sexual assault occurred on campus late at night. After assessing the situation, the police deemed it serious enough to alert the campus community through email. Not all sexual assaults that occur on campus are publicized in this way.

“I do feel a little unsafe after the recent sex assault on campus; however, being informed of the possible threat and who to look out for made an uneasy feeling better,” said Caitlin MacIntyre, a freshman at UNC.

“I feel pretty safe,” said Chelsea Bell, a junior at UNC. “There are always two cops at the University Center where I work just chilling and talking to students.”

The UNC police department’s officers not only get to know students, but they also try to assess the possibility of crime before it happens and stop it such as the Student Response Team.

The Student Response Team is made up of representatives from the dean of students, housing and residency, the Counseling Center, human resources and the UNC police department. The group examines students whose behavior has significantly changed. 

“We want to troubleshoot things that come to the attention of the police department,” Longman said. “The goal is to take the right path for the student in order to get them on the right track for higher education.”

One of the biggest safety problems at UNC besides property damages is alcohol and drug use.

The fall semester is usually the busiest for the police department because of the new students on campus. The UNC police partner with the Greeley police to create “party patrols.”

Party Patrols consist of unmarked vehicles driving around areas known for parties to reduce the amount of underage drinking, noise disturbances, fights, and driving under the influence. Take, for example, the party Sara Gunderson, a senior at UNC, attended.

“All of the policemen were really nice,” Gunderson said. “They had to give tickets to anyone underage who blew over a 0.0.”  

By creating a way to stop a problem before it gets out of control the UNC police department is pro active in its fight against campus crime.

In case of emergency
• In an emergency dial 911 from any campus phone.
• Emergency phones are located throughout campus, including elevators, gyms, swimming pools and other locations.
• Dial 351-2245 on any cell phone for immediate response by UNC police department including the escort service.
Find out more about UNC Crime statistics