SNU Security discusses its role, and students share experiences

SNU is in the process of upgrading its cameras and converting from video to digital. (Photo by Lynn Friedman used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By Grace Williams, Guest writer

Normally, we are taught not to trust people we don’t know roaming around campus. Luckily, some of these people are here to protect us (the ones in uniform). Meet SNU Security.

SNU Security consists of a team of three full time officers, two part time officers, one full time dispatcher, four part time dispatchers and one director who are all in process of or have completed certification through the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET).

SNU Security phone number: 405-491-6309 

There is always a minimum of one officer and one dispatcher on duty, and there is always someone else on call if an officer needs assistance. The officers and dispatchers work eight hour shifts, sometimes longer according to the activities on campus.

Security officers patrol the campus on a consistent basis. They use motor vehicles including golf carts along with foot patrols. During these patrols, security enforces parking, building access, as well as ascertaining information about any crime, threatening actions or illegal activity they see or hear about on campus to pass on to the Bethany Police Department (BPD).

“We work with BPD and the Office of Student Development concerning any activities in this area [campus]. We work in conjunction with BPD in handling and investigating any crimes or incidents.  We also work together providing security coverage for large events on campus. BPD also provides extra coverage of patrol in the evenings to compliment SNU Security coverage,” Johnny Stubbs, director of safety and security/transportation, said.

Stubbs also mentioned that if students have any suggestions for how to improve security, they should email him at jstubbs@snu.edu.

SNU Security also provides other services.

“Students can call for vehicle assistance (jump starts, help with flats,etc), unlocking buildings, safety escorts in the evening, assistance with theft, vandalism, etc.,” Stubbs said.

Students have had a variety of experiences on campus with security, leaving some wondering about the purpose of security.

“I don’t see campus security enforcing anything or even walking around. I only see them sitting in the dispatch center.” said Miesha Fuller, freshmen physical therapy major.

William McDonough, junior psychology major, said, “I’m not sure what the point of having SNU security is. I feel that we could just use the police.”

Othe students, however, have experienced the benefits of security’s services.

Meagan Green, freshman biology-chemistry major, said, “I have security’s favorited in my phone, and I remembered from NSI that they will jump cars. I called them one night to jump my car, and they came within three minutes to help me.”

“I have had good experiences with SNU security so far. I mainly just ask them for access to the Science building after hours,” Jamie Williams, sophomore biology-chemistry major, said.

Jacob Cervantes said, “I’ve never had a bad experience with SNU security. I think they are very nice and friendly. I always talk to them when I see them.”

Several students that were interviewed reported that they wish they knew security on a more personal level as Cervantes describes.

Ronna Fisher, Junior English major, said, “ I’m not sure if I always trust them for what I need. Part of me would hesitate to call them if I ever truly felt in danger, just because I don’t really know them, and I’m not sure how reliable or quick they would be able to help. I think a meet and greet would be help so I know them and can hear from them that they are committed to help.”

Stubbs responded, “We have never tried a meet and greet, but would be open to it.  It would be a great way for our staff to become better acquainted.  This is a very good idea and we will work with Student Development to do this.”

Many students interviewed expressed that they would talk to an R.A. or R.D. about any issue they had on campus.

An R.A. who wished to remain anonymous said, “I have had positive interactions where they are a good presence on campus. But I’ve also had a situation where they were difficult to work with due to the seemingly lack of interest and motivation. In the future, I would like to see a connection between the leaders on campus and the security. For instance, having a time where the RAs can connect with the security staff. I feel that that would ease their mind and actions in any emergency situation.”

Stubbs responded, “I think we have a good working relationship with the R.A.’s.  However, we usually work through Student Development and the Resident Directors on issue concerning campus safety and security.”

All the students interviewed feels safe on campus except very late at night. Most  attributed this to our safe location in Bethany and lack of crime as evidenced by SNU’s crime report.

“I generally feel safe around Hills and the Commons, but beyond that area, near Snowbarger, Imel, or Chapman, I don’t always feel safe,” said Williams. “However, I don’t think that’s because of a lack of security presence, I think it’s because of a lack of security features, i.e. deadbolts in apartments, lighting on walkways, cameras in key areas, etc. I think the security officers do an excellent job; my concern lies with safety features on campus.”

Members of the cabinet promised students that lighting would be improved especially by Marchant, Bracken lawn and Imel to help students feel safer at night at Cabinet chat on March 12th, 2013. Stubbs reported that the lightening update has already began and is being handled by Ron Lester, Director of Facilities Management.

At the Cabinet Chat in fall 2012, a cabinet member stated that $30,000-$40,000 was being spent on camera improvement across campus.

“As far as cameras, the process has already started with upgrading equipment, daily checks of all cameras to ensure they are all operational without delay of service and we repair them quickly, if not. We are also in the process of converting our video to digital.  This should be completed in the near future. This will enable us to check past video on an as needed basis for an unlimited length of time,” Stubbs said.

Several students interviewed (and others who simply overheard me discussing writing an article about campus security) reported that security often interrupts two people of the opposite gender when talking in their cars at night.

Jordan Leibold, sophomore urban ministries major, said, “One night a guy friend and I were in my car talking and security came and shined a light on us. My friend got out and talked to the member of security. He was nice and said it was just for fun.”

Stubbs said, “Our officers check anything that might look a bit out of the ordinary.  Most often,  the officers will approach vehicles with occupants when the vehicle is parked in Fire Lanes, Handicap Parking, or areas that are out of the way, such as back areas of parking lots, at or around the stadium, etc.”

Besides protecting SNU’s immediate campus, security is also responsible for patrolling the baseball, football, soccer fields and the horse barn each hour. This has at times led to unusual circumstances.

“One incident that recently took place was when we received a call from BPD to let us know we had horses loose close to the baseball field,” Stubbs said.  “It was pretty comical watching and being a part of several members of the security staff, along with several Bethany PD officers trying to keep close to 20 head of horses off of 39th Expressway.  With some needed guidance from the Equine staff, the horses were run back into the pasture and the fence repaired.”

SNU Security phone number: 405-491-6309

What do you think?