Eastern Michigan University Police Chief Bob Heighes gave a presentation about the Department of Public Safety’s plan to expand patrols and operations in off-campus areas at the Board of Regents meeting in Welch Hall Tuesday afternoon.
His presentation outlined the plan to add 10 new officers to EMU’s police force by September 2014. In January 2014, the force will see the addition of four new officers, another four in May 2014 and finally another two in September 2014. Heighes added that two current officers will be promoted to the position of Sergeant in January 2014.
“This is a huge investment by the university,” Heighes said of the new hires.
DPS currently has 29 full-time sworn police officers, and according to Clery crime statistics, 2012 saw only 43 reportable crimes on EMU’s campus.
“This is outstanding,” Heighes said. “It reflects a very low crime rate.”
The addition of 10 new officers will aid in creating an additional crime response unit composed of two officers and a sergeant. The purpose of this crime response unit will be to investigate high-profile crimes.
Heighes said that these plans for expansion are designed to help increase their patrolling footprint off campus while maintaining their “effective and extensive safety operations” on campus.
“We have always patrolled—to some extent—in our neighborhoods, but giving us more man power to create a second crime response unit can continue the significant improvements we have seen in safety… for all of our students to live and learn here,” President Susan Martin said.
Heighes explained that they will collaborate with their partners at the Ypsilanti Police Department and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department to determine which off-campus areas will receive attention in the expanded efforts of EMU Police.
He also mentioned that DPS, YPD, and Washtenaw County are working on safety initiatives with private landlords in the area.
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