University Police Department Offers Variety of Services, Programs

Marni Steckmann, Reporter

Whether you’re a few hours from home or a few thousand miles from home, when something goes wrong, it’s difficult to know who you can call for help when you’re in college. Luckily, West Texas A&M University’s police department is able to help students with more than just basic police business.

“Our department offers a number of services in addition to traditional police services or assistance such as vehicle unlocks, vehicle boosts, [and] we have a portable air tank in case they have a flat, as well as a gas can,” UPD Officer Barbara Ferrara said. “We have several educational programs which are available year-round for not only our students but the surrounding community as well.”

Some of the classes that UPD offers to students and the community include sexual assault awareness and prevention, dating violence/stalking awareness, alcohol awareness, crime prevention, hazing, active shooter, and self-defense topics.

“We will also build programs to suit with enough notice,” Ferrara said.

All of the services that UPD offers are free to students.

“We had in the academic year of 2015-2016 over 4000 people attend our various outreach events,” UPD Officer John Hildebrand said. “So far this year, we have had over 500 people attend programs.”

Available programs are listed on the WT website along with all of the other services and information about the police department. UPD also sends out informational emails and has program flyers that they hand out at all New Student Orientation events in addition to advertising scheduled programs and events on social media.

Claire Lyons, WT criminal justice student, was able to intern for UPD as part of her degree plan.

“UPD is a fully operational police department,” Lyons said. “Even when school is out of session, they’re still working.”

Lyons was able to accompany officers on ride-alongs during her internship, although she said WT is fairly quiet and uneventful in the summer.

While no day in the field is the same, both Hildebrand and Ferrara both said that they love interacting with the students and the WT community in general.

According to Ferrara, UPD officers respond to everything they are dispatched to or come across while on patrol. That being said, if they get a call, a detective will be contacted and will respond as well. UPD does not have “specialized units” (i.e. sex crimes, crimes against persons, white collar, theft) as their detectives work whatever comes in.

If you have an emergency, the easiest way to reach UPD is through dialing 911, and the department also has their non-emergency number available at 806-651-2300.



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