The Texas Woman’s University Police Department plans to roll out safety updates to Parliament Village in the near future.
Chief of Police Samuel Garrison said that through these changes, TWU PD overall plans to simplify the community’s access to the police.
“With the help of TWU Facilities Management, we will have a temporary office location in the area of the east parking lot,” Garrison said. “This office space will be clearly marked as TWU police and will help to maintain police coverage in that area. We also plan to have a ‘pop-up’ canopy with lighting to be used in various places around Parliament Village. We are planning to use the pop-up canopy near the sidewalks and parking areas to have a visual presence around campus. TWU police officers will be there to help ease concerns, offer a ride or to just listen. The important part is that we are there when needed.”
As the temporary office is being built, Garrison said that Facilities Management and Construction will be installing light generators along pathways and areas in need of increased lighting. The police department is also nearing the end of updates regarding campus emergency phone poles and a camera project. Additionally, TWU PD plans on diversifying its methods of patrol, with foot patrol, utility vehicles and bicycles to be used in addition to police cars.
On top of these changes, Officer Nakia Reid-Flores has been designated to focus on community outreach and support. Having met with the Board of Regents, housing staff and departments such as Risk Management, Reid-Flores said that she wants to use these connections to make sure that safety changes stay relevant and comfortable for students.
“As a police officer, I want to make sure that who I’m serving is not like, ‘I’m not calling the police,’ or, ‘I’m not telling the police about this’ [when] they’re walking to their home saying, ‘Oh my gosh, somebody’s going to jump out of that bush,” Reid-Flores said. “The outreach is there, the communication is there, giving them a [reason] to say, ‘Okay, let me call Officer Reid,’ because that is a dark corner over there, or folks are hanging out there and I don’t think they’re students or part of our campus.”
According to Reid-Flores, if students do not feel comfortable directly contacting TWU PD about an issue, they can file an anonymous report as a silent witness through the university website. The website also offers crime prevention tips, to which Reid-Flores said that if students have any additional questions, they can come to TWU PD for a one-on-one discussion.
The Night Owls initiative, run by the parking department, is another resource that TWU PD wants students to be more aware of.
“Night Owls is a program where if students aren’t feeling safe walking from the library to Guinn or Stark or even Parliament, then they can contact them and they’ll give them a ride or escort over to their residence,” Reid-Flores said. “So we want to get the word out about it so students aren’t walking, you know, by themselves, and they’ll have an escort and feel safer… Their hours right now are Monday through Thursday [from 7 p.m.] until midnight, and then Friday [from 7 p.m.] until 10 p.m. And then the weekends, they’re not out there, but [TWU PD is].”
Chief Garrison said that there is not currently an end date for safety updates to the campus.
“While our campus is safe, change can cause concern,” Garrison said. “We will continue to adjust to meet the needs of our community. If we find something is not working, we will change our approach. What we will never do is stop working to keep TWU safe. Our campus was safe before the construction projects and it will be safe during and after the projects. I am confident that we can continue to work together to find solutions that enrich the campus community.”
Featured image courtesy of DPS
Jocelyn Truong can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.