DPS expanding patrol borders

More crime has been reported on Eastern Michigan University’s daily crime logs as EMU’s Department of Public Safety has expanded its patrol borders.

It is important to remember that because more crime is being reported, it does not mean it was not happening before. It shows the investment in new officers by EMU and the ability of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department and the Ypsilanti City Police Department to work together are creating a safer Ypsilanti community.

“With the additional staffing the board approved, and the president approved, we have been patrolling in [additional area’s that EMU students are living],” said Bob Heighes, Executive Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police at EMU. “We have also been cross-deputized with county.”

Being cross deputized with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department and the Ypsilanti City Police gives EMU police the authority to patrol areas north of campus as well as neighborhoods to the south, east and west of EMU’s main campus.

“We have increased our umbrella of protection for our students, our faculty and our staff,” Heighes said. “Hopefully the low crime we have experienced on the campus, and have for several years, we can carry that over into the Ypsilanti community as well.”

EMU’s DPS swore in six new police officers in March and has plans to hire on an additional six before the end of 2014. New officers go through a four-month long training process where they are paired with a Field Training Officer during their patrol work.

EMU is also in the process of purchasing five new patrol cars to facilitate the new hires. Because of the time it takes to train new hires and purchase equipment, the full benefits of the increased police presence will not be felt until December.

“I think it takes some time to see what our presence in these other areas will show in the numbers,” Heighes said. “But just that fact that we are being seen, and are visible, and interact with people doesn’t mean we have to be taking a report on a crime, a large part of it is just our presence in the area, crime goes away.”

Heighes said the activities reported in the daily crime log all take place in areas where EMU students live.

“It’s not like we are out in areas where the EMU community is not at,” Heighes said. “We are out in areas where the EMU community is. We are where our students, our faculty and our staff are living and we are providing some additional safety for them in those areas. We are not the primary, but we are certainly part of the overall community safety plan.”

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