Is Public Safety Really That Safe?

by: Megan Peterson

Public Safety seem like it would be a helpful amenity, but is it really? All colleges have their safety issues, so a service called public safety was created. This service is for escorting students, guests, and employees around campus when they do not feel safe traveling alone or is in isolated areas after dark. Public safety officers are all students on campus and this is not a very hard task to achieve. There are some problems that I have noticed while trying to use the Public Safety services and I would find it hard to believe that I am the only one on the St. Cloud State campus that has had these problems, actually I know I am not. I have talked to a few others and we have agreed that public safety does not always do everything that they are supposed or say that they do.

Public safety has several services but the one that I want to mainly focus on is their “safety escorts”. When I first came to this school I did not really mind or have a problem with public safety, but recently I have come across some issues. Whenever I would call them in the recent past they said they could not pick me up because the situation was not and emergency, although it says on their website that they should be able to help you in any situation that you don’t feel safe. Overall my thoughts about public safety are that they are doing a good enough job at their job because of personal experiences that I have had with them.

According to the St. Cloud State University public safety website safety escort section: The Public Safety Department provides a safety escort program for students, employees, and guests whose circumstances require them to travel alone on campus and to and from campus, in isolated areas after dark, during times of low activity on campus or whenever there is concern for one’s own personal safety.

Public Safety has operation hour of seven nights a week from dusk till dawn, but they do not generally give rides during daytime hours unless its an emergency or they were given permission to do so by the on-duty supervisor or department administrator.

There are several rules when using public safety and they are:

The Safety Escort Program does not transport persons who have been consuming alcoholic beverages.

  • There must be at least one on campus location whether it is the beginning of the ride or the end. Be sure to find a safe, well-lit location to wait for the escort.
  • For individuals with disabilities, or for locations off-campus, a vehicle escort will be provided.
  • Safety Escorts are provided to ensure safe arrival to campus and areas near campus. It is not a taxi service and no advance appointments can be made, except in the case of certain extenuating situations.

At no time will a Public Safety Officer transport a sick or injured party but will refer this person to the local Emergency Medical Service.

When I had first using Public safety I did not mind it and I thought that it was very helpful. I am a girl and walking any kind of long distance at night alone is not something that I feel comfortable doing, so I typically would call Public Safety to come pick me up. Even when I’m with one other person, if that person is a girl I still don’t always feel safe for the two of us walking home in the dark. Some might say that if I’m walking with someone I should be fine but typically when I call public safety I am all the way in Q parking lot, and that is rather far from where I live, so I’m still not comfortably walking.

After awhile-public safety started telling me that they could no longer give me rides unless it was an emergency. Although I do not quite understand this because it states on their website that if it was an emergency they would have to call for back up and they would not handle the situation. If someone else is handling the emergency situations so why would they be unable to pick me up.

I had also recently gotten into a car accident and public safety was not very helpful. While I was waiting 45 minutes for the police to show up a saw two public safety officers drove by my accident and didn’t bother to stop and help. After all the police issues got resolved and I drove my sad broken car the rest of the way to Q lot and parked it. I then proceeded to call public safety after Andrea and I had our accident so that we could get a ride back to Mitchell hall.

Mitchell hall is a mile walk in the cold dark pouring rain at 10pm and that is when we made what we thought was a wise decision to call public safety. When we called for help all they said was that that they could not pick us up because no one was badly injured, although it states on their website if someone was really injured they could not be much help anyways. So because they would not pick us up we walked a mile back in the cold dark rain alone, and as two young girls I did not feel safe.

Andrea the passenger in the accident that crumpled the right side of my car had never used, or should I say try to use public safety until that night. Because of this she has a very bad and traumatizing experience for her and she no longer feels safe using them in the future.

Most people like public safety and think they are good but I am not as much as a fan anymore. They are helpful in some way but according to their website they are slacking and I am disappointed.

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