ASU Police bring 24-hour patrols to Tempe dorms

A SAFER CAMPUS: Tempe police keep a watchful eye over ASU dormitories, strengthening their surveillance over the campus's north, center, and south neighborhoods. (Photo by Andy Jeffreys)

The ASU Police Department is increasing its presence around residential halls on the Tempe campus this semester with officers in the neighborhoods around the clock.

The effort will help police manage problems like recurring vandalism or theft related to residential neighborhoods, ASU Police spokesman Cmdr. Jim Hardina said.

Police partnered with University Housing on July 22 to boost enforcement in the areas.

“It’s basically community policing like back in the day before radios and patrol cars,” Hardina said. “[University Housing] knows who our staff is, and they know who to call if there are ongoing issues.”

For the 24-hour watches, ASU Police divided the campus into three sections — north, center and south — and maintains a schedule that keeps at least one officer in each neighborhood at all times.

In addition to the assignments, there will always be officers on general assignment around the campus, including in the residence hall neighborhoods, Hardina said.

The number of police officers in the ASU Police Department remains the same, Hardina said, but officers now have specific assignments to residential neighborhoods.

Previously, three “police liaisons” were assigned to residential neighborhoods on campus, with fewer hours and less coordination with University Housing.

The north beat encompasses the Palo Verde residential halls, San Pablo Hall, Manzanita Hall, University Towers, McClintock Hall, Best Hall, Irish Hall and Hayden Hall.

The center beat includes Hassayampa Academic Village, Cholla Apartments and Barrett, the Honors College.

The south beat covers Vista del Sol, Sonora Center and Adelphi Commons.

Hardina said the constant police coverage of residence halls will allow officers to witness more crime firsthand, leading to more arrests.

Eventually, crime will go down overall around the residence halls because of the increased police presence, he said.

“By nature, the students will see the blue uniforms and say, ‘Oh, there’s police in here,’ and create a higher sense of safety,” Hardina said.

To prepare for the assignment, police and members of University Housing trained together in order to strengthen their partnership and coordination, Hardina said.

“If there’s an ongoing problem that’s not an emergency [that] doesn’t need emergency response, the sergeant assigned to that neighborhood, police and neighborhood staff can make a game plan to solve that problem,” Hardina said.

While the 24-hour watch was not formed for the purpose of emergency response, Hardina said if there is an emergency response on campus, the detail allows there to be a police officer in the area already.

University Housing spokeswoman Eliza Robinson said in an e-mail that University Housing staff has worked with ASU Police in different aspects of crime prevention, personal safety education, incident response and other safety programming.

University Housing and ASU Police now hold weekly meetings to discuss topics and issues within the neighborhoods, Robinson said.

They also hold a mandatory meeting for first-time residents to discuss personal safety and behavior choices as well as to introduce the police liaison for that neighborhood, she added.

“It is our hope that the increased participation by the neighborhood liaisons will help increase the safety of our residents and the partnership between University Housing and ASU Police,” Robinson said in an email.

Staffing for neighborhood assignments varies by day and time. The shifts of two officers will overlap every evening, and three shifts will overlap on the weekends, creating three officers specifically assigned to each neighborhood on weekends, Hardina said.

Biochemistry freshman Kalie Rumaner, a resident of Hassayampa Academic Village, said she thinks the 24-hour neighborhood patrol is a good idea.

“The dorm life could use some more authority,” Rumaner said. “A lot of what goes down in the dorms, older people don’t really know about. I think it’s a good idea, safety-wise.”

Reach the reporter at mhendley@asu.edu