In order to continuously improve safety measures for students, the University of Nevada, Reno Police Department is putting 15 students to work as student cadets this semester. The program employs the cadets to patrol campus and provide escort services to fellow students walking to and from University buildings after dark.
“We do a lot of patrolling in the parking garages, offer to escort students on campus, watch for suspicious activity, and generally try to be good witnesses to anything we see,” explained Jeremy Brien, a senior psychology major working for the cadet program.
The cadets work in groups of two to four, and are on duty from 6 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday during the semester. Cadets are recognizable by police services jackets, and they offer free golf cart rides to students in need of an escort. The University’s Police Department has always assisted students in need of an escort, and the Associated Students of the University of Nevada’s Campus Escort program provides escort and transportation services for students within a two-mile radius of campus. However, after the openings of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center and the Joe Crowley Student Union, police realized there was an opportunity to supplement these programs and patrol a wider area of campus. To meet that need, the Student Cadet Program was implemented in March.
“I’m basically a visual deterrent to anyone who would think about doing something bad to other people’s cars or other people personally,” said Cadet Jordan Weaver, a political science major. “I have to keep my eyes and ears open, always.”
While increasing the sense of security for the University, the program also offers a taste of police work to students who, like Brien, are considering a career in law enforcement.
“I’d like to become a detective someday,” he said. “I think it’s a very honorable and exciting profession, and I would probably [be a cadet] for free just because of the opportunities and the insight into police work we get. It's almost like an internship.”
Weaver hopes his cadet experience will help him in law school. “I’d like to end up as a lawyer for one of the branches of the United States military,” he said.
The cadet program is just one way the University has worked to strengthen law enforcement presence on campus. Last year, nearly 20 reserve officers were hired to serve as part-time police officers for normal and emergency duty. Those who had no police education underwent roughly 180 hours of training, including instruction in patrol procedures and firearms.
In addition to the cadet and reserve officer programs, the University provides many safety-related services, including 97 emergency “blue lights” around campus and throughout the parking garages. Activating one of the blue lights will immediately alert police and emergency services to your location. The Police Department also offers a text-alert system to help keep the campus community aware of any threats to its safety.