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Police officers help to keep campus secure

Patrick+Coggins%2C+chief+of+police%2C+answers+questions+from+students+at+the+Open+Forum+about+campus+safety+in+CSC+Comanche+on+March+19.+Photo+by+Bridget+Reilly
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Police officers help to keep campus secure

Patrick Coggins, chief of police, answers questions from students at the Open Forum about campus safety in CSC Comanche on March 19. Photo by Bridget Reilly

Patrick Coggins, chief of police, answers questions from students at the Open Forum about campus safety in CSC Comanche on March 19. Photo by Bridget Reilly

Justin Marquart

Patrick Coggins, chief of police, answers questions from students at the Open Forum about campus safety in CSC Comanche on March 19. Photo by Bridget Reilly

Justin Marquart

Justin Marquart

Patrick Coggins, chief of police, answers questions from students at the Open Forum about campus safety in CSC Comanche on March 19. Photo by Bridget Reilly

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crime log

A portion of the MWSU crime log.

The University Police Department is a full-service law enforcement agency and is staffed by both sworn and civilian professional. The 10 sworn police officers along with a telecommunication dispatch team operate all day, every day.

As they prepare to move into an improved building in the next two months, Patrick Coggins, university police chief, said the team works endlessly to provide students with effective and immediate safety.

Across campus, there are about 36 emergency call buttons available for students, faculty and staff to reach the police station to report an incident, wellness calls or any other need. The officers maintain 24/7 patrol coverage of the main campus and the outline properties as well.

According to Sgt. Albert Jimenes, the blue lights are checked every month to provide campus wide security options. While weather and rodents can damage the safety call machines, police officers check on each light and safety button to ensure they work.

“We send officers out to check all the lights, elevator buttons and residence hall call [buttons] every month,” Jimenes said. “A couple officers will go out and check on them throughout campus.”

Along with the main call buttons at the stations, Coggins said the MSU Safety cell phone application allows for mobile blue lights to be accessible at the touch a screen.

“Anywhere you are on campus, if you hit that mobile blue light button, it’ll connect you with the police department or it will send your coordinates if your location information is on,” Coggins said. “We monitor the app on a dashboard, so we will actually be able to tell where you are calling from. You don’t even have to be close to a hardline blue light—you can have that app.”

The app, introduced in 2016, is free on both Apple and Android devices through the app stores. Previously, users were charged to download a similar application, but according to Coggins, the office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management “absorbed the cost of the application because this was something Student Affairs felt pretty strongly about.”

Various departments and offices work together with one another to provide students the safest and most efficient use of services provided. Since he began working here, Coggins said the data suggests the campus police are seeing a general increase in a variety of activities on campus, which allows them to further assist students through the differing services.

“We work in conjunction with the counseling center,” Coggins said. “We work across the street from them, and we often assist in transporting people where they need to get further help, and they are often assisting us when we need their expertise out on the scene. We try to navigate the best option for different cases.”

According to Coggins, there has traditionally been a stark contrast between the violent crime on campus versus Wichita Falls and numbers compared to peer institutions of roughly the same size.

This data is released on Oct. 1 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The organization releases annual reports from university crime reporting sent out by the different law enforcement agencies having jurisdiction over various areas and requires officers to have this information on their website for public access.

While the number of certain crimes has remained low on campus, there has been an increase in the number of sexual assault crimes reported; however, Coggins said increased awareness and emphasizes on this crime would cause an increase in reporting.

“In the last three years, we’ve seen a significant increase each year with a number of sexual assaults,” Coggins said. “Because there has been so much emphasis on sexual assault reporting and making sure to report it, it is to be expected for there be an increase. You’re going to see an uptick in those numbers, but when you look at our other numbers, aggravated assault, robbery number, they tend to stay very low.”

Read campus crime statistics 

Reported crimes from 2016

  • Aggravated assault — 5
  • Arson — 1
  • Burglary — 20
  • Domestic violence — 25
  • Drug law violation arrests — 36
  • Drug law violation referrals for disciplinary action — 10
  • Rape — 4
  • Robbery — 1
  • Liquor law violation referrals for disciplinary action — 46
  • Motor vehicle theft — 2
  • Stalking — 7
  • Weapons law violation arrests — 7

Learn about Title IX

Locations

  • Police Station, on the corner of Louis J. Rodriguez Drive and Hampstead Lane, 940-397-4239.
  • Counseling Center, on Hampstead Lane, 940-397-4618.

Additional stories pertaining to safety on campus

Additional reporting by Brian Lang

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About the Writer
Cortney Wood, Managing Editor

Cortney Wood is the managing editor for The Wichitan. She is a mass communication sophomore with a minor in journalism. Cortney has been involved with...

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