Although students might complain about getting tickets, we all have a place in our hearts for our friendly Campus Police officers. So we were sympathetic when we heard that Campus Police is facing a steady shortage of officers and an increase in overtime hours because of it.
One thing our administrators, our Campus Police personnel and administrators from other state schools agree on is the sluggishness of the civil service hiring process that has stalled our ability to hire new officers. We get a limited number of applicants to begin with and due to different circumstances, the list of interested and eligible potential officers steadily decreases. By the time we realize that we only have enough cadets to fill one-third of our vacant officer positions, we have to wait six months for a new list.
On top of that, personnel lists from the office of Communications and Media Relations show that two or three officers leave each year. By the time our two new cadets complete training (assuming they don’t get better offers along the way), two of our current officers will have probably left, and we break even.
Fortunately for us, the student body doesn’t seem to feel the impact of having almost half our Campus Police positions empty. In the case of an emergency, we wouldn’t be crippled by our shortage of officers since every shift is still covered, according to Matthew Golden, executive director of Communications and Media Relations.
We fully believe that if our administration could be doing anything to fix this problem, it would be. However, it doesn’t seem that the hiring process has any loopholes and the officer situation doesn’t seem like it will improve anytime soon, as the DOP is completely unwilling to admit its process is problematic and instead unhelpfully directs us to consult our Human Resources Department.
Other schools have gotten around the problem by utilizing unarmed security officers and student security personnel. Implementing a student program could be helpful. It might decrease some of the overtime forced upon Campus Police officers while giving students interested in the field something to put on their résumés, or at least an experience to confirm or deny their potential interest in law enforcement careers.
Still, the College should not simply be getting around the issue through supplementary procedures. The office of Campus Police should be capable of filling its vacancies via a speedy and efficient hiring process, yet the one provided by the DOP is anything but.
These issues cannot be adressed overnight, but all we’re asking is that the DOP stops living in denial. We want our officers back, even if they are giving us parking tickets.