OCCC transitioned from having a campus Safety and Security Office to having a Campus Police Department Aug. 15.
The change has been in the making since 2008, said John Boyd, Business and Finance Vice President.
“It was discussed before I was acting Vice President of Business and Finance,” Boyd said.
He said the switch will be advantageous to students.
“A police officer is going to have a different level of experience, and will have dealt with many unique situations that our safety and security officers haven’t.”
OCCC student Keani Young said she welcomes the change.
“It’s a great idea,” she said. “Instead of waiting for security to call police if something happens, they’re already right here to handle it.”
Boyd said police officers have the ability to arrest and detain, something Safety and Security officers cannot do.
The changes won’t happen overnight he said. Boyd said the college will replace security officers with police officers as positions become available.
“The transition will take time.
“Long-term, we’re looking at having solely a campus police department,” he said.
“We’re not here to tell Safety and Security we’re taking their jobs. As attrition occurs, we will fill those positions with police officers.”
Boyd said the officers are employees of the college, not Oklahoma City Police Department officers, and have various law enforcement experience.
“We began creating the new department and working out the logistics.”
First, Boyd said, job descriptions had to be created.
“We couldn’t come up with those out of thin air. We consulted other law enforcement agencies and with other colleges who have police departments.”
OCCC student Chris Waychoff said the move seems extreme, “based on the (low) crime rate here …”
Boyd said that wasn’t a factor.
“There was no criminal event or catalyst for the change. It had already been in the minds of administrators,” he said.
He said business will go on as usual.The only noticeable change will be uniforms.
“There are differences in uniforms from police officers to safety and security. That’s by design.
“A person needs to understand if they are dealing with a police officer or a safety and security officer,” Boyd said.
“Our top priority at the college is students. If the students weren’t here, we wouldn’t be here.
“The police officers know that and are expected to accommodate [students] to the same level as the safety and security officers.
“Our police officers understand they are here to serve the student body, and provide safety and security to everyone who steps on this campus.”
For more information on the campus department, call 405-682-7572, or visit www.occc.edu/security.
To contact Priscilla Colley, email email@example.com.