The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Police officials say information is key

While an unknown number of sexual assaults occur on the SMUcampus every semester, the SMU Police Department maintains thatevery assault reported to them is published in the station’sdaily activity log.

“Community policing is about sharing information, accurateinformation, and about building trust. The thought of suppressinginformation is so far afield from what we are trying to accomplish.It’s just not in anyone’s best interests to dothat,” said Bill Detwiler, the Associate Vice President forHuman Resources and business services, who supervises the SMUPolice Department.

The police department’s crime blotter is kept currentwithin two business days, as required by the federal Clery Act,according to SMU police chief Michael Snellgrove. The log extendsback approximately two months, or 60 days. Logs older than 60 daysare placed in an archive, he says.

According to the annual crime statistics listed on thedepartment’s Web site, four forcible sexual assaults werereported to the police in the last three years. The daily logsreporting these events are available within two business days, uponrequests, from the log archive.

Detwiler and Snellgrove both said they consider information tobe the department’s top priority, as well as alerting thecommunity to any possible dangers.

“We don’t have enough police officers without thehelp of 12,000 eyes and ears and people out there. We need thathelp and tha tkind of network to community police. That’s howwe find perpetrators,” Detwiler said.

Ellen Sterner, executive director of News and Media Relations,said the news and information staff were working closely with thepolice department to alert the campus to any possible threat.

After a female student was allegedly raped in the AirlineParking Garage on Nov. 22, 2003, the SMU administration and policedepartment waited four days to distribute a flier around campusdescribing the incident as a sexual assault.

Sterner said the delay was due to a mixture of complications.The incident happened on a weekend, and she said no one in news andinformation division could be contacted to begin working on thecampus-wide alert.

“We really didn’t get working on it until Monday.And then [the flier] had to be officially approved. It was just abig mess,” Sterner said.

Since then, the administration has enacted a 24-hour responsepolicy, which will prevent such a dramatic delay in alerting thecampus to danger, Sterner said.

Other safety efforts will also be implemented as soon aspossible, the most notable of which is the new GiddyUp shuttle, a24-hour escort program based on a similar program at TexasChristian University.

The shuttle, a six-passenger golf cart with an amber strobelight on the top, will be driven by students who have undergone abackground check and extensive training. It will be dispatched thesame way the department’s current escort service, which willcontinue, is dispatched — via radio — after a studentcalls 8-3333.

“We are not always as responsive as we might like tobe,” Chief Snellgrove said. “We want the community tofeel safe.”

Chief Snellgrove is working with Campus Planning and PlantOperations to have more lighting installed around campus, as wellas more blue-light phones that are directly connected to the policestation’s dispatch office. The chief said he especially wantsa blue-light phone installed in the Dedman 3 parking lot andbetween the Dedman 3 lot and the South Quad and Ford Stadium.

The chief has suggested CPPO division install a gate at theentrance to the Dedman 3 parking lot. Operating similarly to thegates at the entrance and exit to Moody parking garage, he gatewill require students to swipe their student IDs to gainentrance.

Dewiler and Chief Snellgrove encourage students and parents tocontact them with any questions they might have regarding campussecurity. For an up-close look at police operations, students andparents may participate in a ride-along with SMU police. Thedepartment asks that anyone interested contact the departmentduring normal business hours to schedule a ride-along.


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