Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Captain Denise Padgett with the SC State University Police Department began her career at SC State as a ticket writer. In that position, students weren’t too fond of Padgett when they were reprimanded for not following on-campus traffic instructions. However, Padgett used these circumstances to learn about the students. “I was able to get the situation to deescalate,” says Padgett. She often did this by asking students questions about their personal life. Finding out their major, hometown and goals led Padgett to remember certain students. “You start right there,” says Padgett. “You build the confidence and the relationship, and you begin to mentor every single day,” notes Padgett.
Establishing a relationship and building a rapport with students has been the precedent set by the entire SC State University Police Department, says Padgett, noting that the entire staff for the police department want to ensure students’ success and safety. This is also the reason why Micheal Bartley, interim police chief for the SC State University Police Department, began a partnership with Residential Life and Housing. Once a month, police officers from the department will visit residence halls on campus. These officers will interact with students regarding several factors that will foster a more safe and secure campus.
According to Padgett, there will be a shredding initiative in which officers will demonstrate the most effective shredding techniques used to combat identify theft. Officers will also provide safety tips while students are walking on campus or in their car.
Additional initiatives include a National Night Out Campaign, consisting of students from each residence hall who will be enlightened by the SC State Police Officers, other law enforcement agencies throughout the state and citizens. This will heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, participation in local anticrime activities and the strengthening of police-community partnerships. A Community Outreach Program will also alert students, faculty and staff of any suspicious activity on campus.
Officers also plan to use this partnership for encouraging students in the Criminal Justice Program to seek out internships with the SC State University Police Department. The internship is designed for young men and women who have an interest in law enforcement.
While it is evident that the partnership between the SC State University Police Department and Residential Life and Housing will provide for a more safe campus, according to Padgett, this is also an opportunity for students to look at their police officers as people who are diligently working for them and not against them. “What we will gain from this initiative is that students are going to be able to come to us,” says Padgett. “We want to do whatever it takes to ensure that students get from point A to point B. That’s the gratification that we get from everything that we do, when we see students graduate that we have worked with,” exclaims Padgett.
Padgett says that the partnership between SC State University Police and Residential Life and Housing is an initiative that will require effort from all officials in the department, not from her solely. Therefore, you can look for a police officer in your residence hall on the 1st and the 15th of each month.
For more information on the partnership between the SC State University Police Department and Residential Life and Housing, call (803) 536-7188.