Recent concerns for student safety have prompted a reevaluation of campus security forces. The issues, however, look very different from a patrol car.
Each night, between five and eight Duke University Police Department officers patrol the University campus throughout the night. They are mandated to watch the three areas of campus designated as North, East and West—which encompass Central Campus and the Hospital, East Campus and West Campus, respectively.
Duke police officer Tiffany Young was assigned to East Campus Tuesday but chose to drive around both East and Central in an effort to monitor more of the campus. Originally a security guard, Young recently took on the night shift as a police officer—starting her shift at 6 p.m. and patrolling the campus until 6:30 a.m. Although the schedule may seem demanding, Young explains that it allows her to see her kids more often throughout the day.
Young said a typical route for officers exposes them to areas behind freshman dorms and Central apartments that are nearly abandoned on Tuesday night—unless of course, a student is waiting for a midnight pizza delivery.
“We just arrested someone there the other day—they were trespassing,” Young said, pointing to a dark area near the Whole Foods on Broad Street when The Chronicle joined her for a ride Tuesday night.
She explained that though the University may seem open to the public, Duke is a private university, and therefore the campus is private property. Loitering or soliciting on campus is not permitted, and violators are given at least a warning or citation for breaking this law.
Aside from the police officers stationed in vehicles across campus, there are also various security guards patrolling Central, West and East campuses. But Young, who started as a security guard, said there are important distinctions between an officer and a guard.
The majority of the guards are contracted from an outside service provider—Allied Barton—and work more than one job. They do not carry a weapon and only have access to public campus buildings—such as Perkins and Brodie Gym—but not student residences.
Because of their lack of weapons, guards are encouraged to stay away from situations that may cause them physical harm, Young said, adding that the deficiency of police officers can lead to problems.
“We need more police officers and more security,” Young said. “You’re not going to be everywhere at every second.”
Young cited larceny and domestic violence as her most frequent calls. She emphasized that students should lock their doors, estimating that about 80 percent of incidents of theft are caused by students who are not cautious.
Because of the variety of incidents that University police encounter, Pattie Poston, emergency communication officer for DUPD, said they have to prepare to be flexible.
“Duke police officers are trained for different things to deal with diverse Duke students,” Poston said. “We work on a more personal level... we offer exaggerated customer service.”