Wake Tech Campus Police Force Marks First Anniversary
RALEIGH, N.C. (September 19, 2013) - Wake Tech’s campus police force is marking one year of service to the campus community. The Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the force in April of last year, and officers reported for duty July 1, 2012. Fourteen other North Carolina community colleges in the state have campus police, as do all the universities in the UNC system.
“Very few people are given the task of starting a Police Department from ground zero,” says Chief Michael Penry, who was sworn in May 2012. “Over the past 12 months I have watched our department grow into a first-class operation, with men and women who are truly dedicated to keeping the Wake Tech community safe.”
Wake Tech has 24 sworn officers and eight civilian staff who are responsible for providing a safe and secure learning environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors at the college’s five campuses and two training centers. The officers have a variety of duties: providing all law enforcement services; responding to medical and fire emergencies; patrolling the parking lots and assisting motorists; and escorting students, faculty, and staff when safety is a concern.
Wake Tech police officers travel the campuses via cars, bicycles, golf carts and an ATV. Officers are assigned bike detail throughout the week; bikes allow them to move quickly and quietly. Fridays are “green” days, during which cars are not used unless necessary. Officers use the “community policing” concept, which relies on regular, friendly interaction with students, faculty and staff. “Wake Tech is a small but thriving community,” says Chief Penry, “and it takes everyone’s help to keep it safe.”
The college launched a new emergency notification system this year called Wake Tech WARN. The system sends voice, text and email alerts in the event of a campus emergency, safety hazard or inclement weather situation. Lynxx Emergency icons have also been installed on hundreds of computers so that faculty and staff can call for police at the click of a button.
In addition, Wake Tech’s Campus Police Department uses the 800 MHz radio system to communicate with all other police, fire and EMS units in Wake County during emergencies. The dispatch center operates 24 hours a day and monitors 235 cameras, 68 “blue light” emergency phones, and 20 elevator emergency phones at our campuses.
During their first year, officers made 12 arrests, including DWI, disorderly conduct, weapons violation, simple assault and drug possession. Officers also issued 1,600 school parking violations and 25 state traffic citations.