NSights Blog

University Police finds ways to meaningfully engage with campus community

Whether in informal settings, at special events our through special programs, University Police works to listen to your concerns

If you are looking for an opportunity to engage with your University Police Officers' in a more informal setting, the Wiegand Fitness Center is just the place.  You may recognize some of our officers as instructors of drop-in classes and for-credit physical education classes.  Chief Eric James teaches CrossFit, Officers Wasser and Bunagan teach Girls on Guard, and Deputy Chief Reynolds teaches RAD (Rape Aggression Defense).  Our officers enjoy the opportunity to engage with students in this setting because they realize they may be more approachable.  We can relate with one another and recognize that we have more in common than meets the eye.  At the gym, we are all people who are working on being the best versions of ourselves-- and we don't mean just physically.  At the gym, we are working on being disciplined, working on confidence, and learning to compete with ourselves in a way that can be applied outside of the gym. 

We adapted our Girls on Guard curriculum to be more inclusive regardless of gender identity.  As of Fall 2021, we have begun teaching inclusive classes by request as well as drop-in classes taught at Wiegand.

The University Police Department is always looking for ways to engage with the community and make ourselves available to the students.  One of the ways we like to accomplish this is by holding events on campus that allow students, faculty, and staff to drop by and meet with engage in conversation with us.  We have put on coffee with a Cop in various locations on campus, where we provide coffee and donuts and are available for conversation.  In the first week of the Fall 2021 semester, you may have seen officers and staff from the department, along with members of ASUN driving our cadet golf carts and handing out ice cream.  We also held an event with the Jewish Federation at the Joe Crowley Student Union, where officers could chat and introduce themselves to the community over a bagel and coffee.  We like to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves and allow ourselves to be available to students, faculty, and staff outside of a law enforcement contact.  We understand that many people may have had less than friendly encounters with law enforcement, and we would like to provide a space free from citations and arrests where members of our community can ask questions and voice concerns.

Beginning in Fall 2020, the University Police Department has partnered with the College of Social Work and has been deploying interns to ride with officers.  These interns assist with calls for service and gain practical knowledge and application when dealing with emotionally distressed people or those experiencing homelessness.  These interns understand how police are trained to respond to calls and can bring their knowledge in to assist the officers with their skills learned as social work students.  We have seen great success and have enjoyed having these students collaborate with us to help solve problems in our community.

Lauren Reid, our Victim Advocate, can work with students, faculty and staff who have been victims of crime.  She can assist you whether you have reported the crime to University Police or not.  She is able to connect victims with resources both on campus and within the Reno/ Sparks community.  Lauren can accompany victims to forensic exams, interviews with police, provide updates on cases, assist with applying for orders of protection, obtain money to replace damaged property or because of lost income, and be a listening ear during a traumatic time.  She is not a counselor or a therapist, but she can offer support as long as a victim needs it. Suppose you've been victimized or aren't sure what happened was a crime. In that case, Lauren is a great starting point to help you understand the process for reporting with police, Title IX, and Equal Opportunity, or getting you connected with useful resources to help you heal and move forward.

Eric James
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