One of the important concerns of every college campus is safety. At IU there are two entities that work specifically to keep students, staff and faculty safe. They are the IU Police Department and the Bloomington Police Department. As a student, however, it can sometimes be hard to differentiate the two.
“I always thought of IUPD as excise cops at tailgates,” senior Courtney Holcomb said. “One of the biggest things as a student is knowing the difference between IUPD and Bloomington PD.”
BPD has jurisdiction in the greater radius of the town. It is an area of 20 square miles, according to the department’s website.
IUPD, however, works within the smaller circle of campus within BPD’s jurisdiction. IUPD has more than 300 employees across all seven IU campuses. The Bloomington division has more than 40 full-time officers that monitor campus activity and emergencies.
“We have certain views of what law enforcement is on IU’s campus, and there’s a discrepancy between the two,” Holcomb said.
IUPD responds to calls related to most offenses. Some of the most frequently occurring at IU include theft, burglary, drug use and possession, underage drinking or public intoxication, and sexual assault and harassment.
IU started its new Culture of Care initiative in 2012. IUPD plays a role in this program by helping victims of sexual assault understand the legal options open to them after an attack.
In addition to officers, IUPD offers a student cadet program through which students interested in the field can train and earn accreditation through the University after hands-on training. This kind of program usually lasts for a full year and is open to students of any major.
“People make IUPD out to be these fearful figures,” Holcomb said. “But after having a friend in the cadet program, I see that they aren’t out to set us up for failure but instead there for our protection and to make sure our education is our top priority.”
While IUPD makes student safety a primary concern, students said they are usually reasonable in a variety of situations.
“I think they’re pretty lenient and act like they’ve been through college before,” sophomore Kelly Nelson said. “They know what happens and know when something should be handled legally and when it should be let go.”
Junior Edgar Terriquez agrees IUPD generally has fair policies.
“IUPD really seems to look after the students’ best interest and not just out to see who they can grab,” Terriquez said.
One of the major responsibilities of IUPD comes in the form of monitoring campus and town-wide social events. Some of the most common include sports season tailgates, homecoming week and Little 500.
“Above all I think they definitely look for people that might intrude, not necessarily IU students but people who come from other areas in Indiana and other states who might have bad intentions, especially during big events,” Nelson said.
Underclassmen and older students alike agree that IUPD handle these larger events and bigger crowds with extra attention.
“They do a really good job during events at IU and make sure everyone is safe,” Terriquez said.
Holcomb, Nelson and Terriquez agree IUPD does a generally good job being both protectors and friends on campus.
“After turning 21, you realize that these figures are necessary,” Holcomb said. “Bloomington is a community of 80,000 people. There’s a lot more going on than we realize.”
Some students, however, might appreciate better communication from IUPD, both in the case of an emergency or a threat on campus, to the daily ins and outs of their jobs.
“They could possibly improve their communication/relations with the students around them,” Terriquez said. “They could have more interaction as in what they do on campus or what they are doing.”
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