Campus Police officers protect students, provide safety education

Campus Police officers protect students, provide safety education

The WNMU Campus Police Department is a full-service police agency, here to maintain a safe and secure environment for students, staff, faculty and visitors of the WNMU campus. Officers are on duty or on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day. There are six members in the force.

The WNMU Campus Police website gives seven tips on how to prevent crime. 

  1. Mark or engrave all valuables (including textbooks) and keep a record of these in a safe place. Include their make, model, and serial numbers whenever possible.
  2. If there are any problems with your room that may affect security (such as doors that don’t lock well or windows that open easily), let your RA or housing director.
  3. Keep your bicycle secured to a bike rack on campus with a quality lock.
  4. Lock the doors and windows to your room and your vehicle every time you leave. Do not leave valuables where they can be easily seen by someone passing by, even if it is just for a few minutes.
  5. Always be aware of your surroundings and of any strangers near you. If someone is acting suspiciously, move away toward large groups and well-lit areas.
  6. Don’t leave valuables unattended in unlocked lockers, study areas, or classrooms.
  7. Alcohol and drug use can reduce your ability to recognize a dangerous situation and your ability to defend yourself. If you are going to drink alcohol, do it legally, responsibly, in a safe place, and with people you can trust.

The Mustang Newspaper Staff interviewed WNMU Police Chief Eddie Flores to learn more about what the department does for students and the university community. 

Q: What are some benefits provided to students?

A: The benefits of Campus Police here at WNMU are that we are unique compared to most campus police departments. Here, at Western, we have a fully certified police department. The difference is that security officers observe and report. We are not security officers. This department is a police department, just like Silver City Police Department. We have full police powers. I take great pride in that we handle everything that comes into our office. If you call in for an incident, we don’t have to redirect you to Silver City Police. We will take care of it, right then and there for you. We provide security at all events like athletic events, graduation, or concerts. We also help students with minor incidents, like if you leave your keys in your car. Campus Police offers escorts. For example, if you have a class at night and you need to get to the housing facilities, we can give you a ride. The officers that work here are all retired. The reason I say that is because they have the experience, knowledge, and they are properly trained for the job. I am a retired captain with the New Mexico State Police and I retired to take this position. I have been in this position for 12 years. I’ve been blessed to be here at Western. I think WNMU benefits from our experience and training, as well. It is a huge benefit to everyone here, especially the students. I would hope that the parents have some comfort in knowing that Western is a safe place. 

Q: What prevention programs are offered to educate students safety?

A: We live in a day that active shooters are almost a weekly occurrence across the nation. For this reason, we provide active shooter simulations and drills in the city. We conducted one at Western. We used the same model in Silver Schools. We also organize “Campus Safety Week” with the Student Life Department. We will give talks on how to prevent yourself from being a victim of theft, assault, stalking, or harassment. We like to tell students, “If you see something, say something.” We offer self defense classes for students. We talk to parents at orientation. We tell parents, mainly, what services we offer to their students. We give talks to classes. Professors can request us to come into their classroom and we inform students on what to do in different incidents. We also have a Crisis Intervention Team and a Threat Assessment Team on campus. 

Q: How does the school communicate with students in case of an emergency?

A:  The school communicates with students in case of an emergency with a reporting app. It is called the Rave Alert System. Once you register to school, you are automatically added to the system. You receive a text or an email indicating what is happening, where it is happening, and what to do in case of an emergency. We send out a test message every semester. A couple years ago, we had a gas leak. That was a potential threat for students, so the rave alert system was used. 

WNMU Campus Police is located across the street from Light Hall. For more information, contact their office at (575) 538-6231 or call the Central Dispatch at (575) 388-8840. In case of an emergency, call 911. 

The WNMU Campus Police brochure provides additional phone numbers for any case. 

  • El Refugio- (575) 538-2135
  • Silver Regional Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS)- (575) 313-6203
  • Student Health and Counseling Services- (575) 538-6014