Police view low forum turnout as good
February 26, 2007 —
The University Police held an open forum on Tuesday and no students attended, but the department doesn't see that as a bad thing.
"A low turnout is a good thing," says Ronald Trepkowski, Chief of University Police. "With no turnout, I guess there are no complaints. So the campus must be satisfied with the work of police and parking."
Joyce Payne, the Parking Services coordinator, agreed with Trepkowski's assessment, citing other possible reasons for the low attendance.
"We are networking all the time as a department, so a lot of problems are brought forth then," she said. "We get a lot of feedback from URA, SA, and the athletic department. Many issues are also addressed at other events, like the presidential forums. And students just have busy schedules."
Located on the south side of campus, University Police and Parking Services serve the campus in a variety of ways. Trepkowski and Payne highlighted some of these services while they waited for students to join the forum.
"Parking Services deals with services like battery jumps and car lockouts, as well as measuring and allocating lot usage," Payne says. They are also responsible for patrols that issue tickets across campus.
The work is not always as easy as it sounds, though, Payne explained. "The parking situation has changed over the years. There are now many more new students, new buildings, and new lots. The number of on-campus students has also grown dramatically."
Payne said that since SVSU doesn't restrict freshmen from keeping a car on campus, it can be difficult to correctly gauge lot usage.
"Of the 9,500 students, about 75 percent of them have cars on campus during the day...we are continually looking at the parking situation and adjusting our approach," he said.
Trepkowski also noted the changes the University Police has seen from the past.
"Thirty years ago, students here didn't even know that the campus police were real police," he said. "Today, we still have to deal with misconceptions. People see campus as a safe place and ask, 'Why are you here?'"
In addition to the two to four officers on constant patrol around campus, two student patrol officers help keep the campus safe at night with "property checks."
When asked to comment on the semester, both Trepkowski and Payne agreed that the year has gone smoothly.
After a half-hour of waiting for students to arrive at the forum, both decided to head back to the office, but said they have a message for students.
"Students need to look at parking information available online or in our office. A little proactive research would help avoid many problems," Payne said.
And Trepkowski only had one wish for the student body: "Stay safe for spring break."