King’s Campus Security Starts Student Officer Program
Campus Safety and Security’s new team of student officers will offer walking escorts for students and provide a visible security presence during evening hours.
The student officer program officially launched on September 26, but Security began planning for it during the spring 2017 semester.
“When I first got here, I noticed in the student surveys that they responded to the one question, ‘Do I feel safe walking at night?’ We were average with the rest of the nation, but I thought we could do a little better,” explained James Gilgallon, Executive Director of Campus Safety and Security.
To help students feel safer, Security looked to the University of Scranton, which has had a successful student officer program for several years.
Gilgallon met with the University of Scranton’s chief of police to discuss the program and decided to try a similar program at King’s.
Security sent emails to the student body during the spring semester and over the summer to gauge interest. Later, they conducted interviews with the interested students.
The student officers’ main tasks are to provide a visible security presence on campus during evening hours and escort students to their cars, night classes, or residence halls.
Although the student officers will offer walking escorts, security staff will continue to provide walking and vehicle escorts upon request as well.
“We always offer escorts for students, but I think sometimes maybe a student wouldn’t want to come up to a security guard or call the security department,” Gilgallon said, “But maybe they would be more likely to ask a fellow student.”
Student officer and senior Daniel Mushat agreed. “People generally feel more comfortable seeing a friendly face that they regularly see around campus and someone they can personally relate to as a student,” he noted via email.
Seven upperclassmen currently serve as student officers.
They will generally work in pairs, and are identifiable by their red hats, shirts, and jackets with the King’s logo on them. The student officers will also carry radios.
“They’re not going to be enforcing the rules. They’re simply there as a presence. It’s more of a customer service-based thing. I want the kids to feel comfortable at night walking,” Gilgallon clarified.
The student officers also helped with parking at the homecoming football game on September 23. If the program continues to grow, they might work at more athletic events in the future.
In addition to helping students feel safer, the program has benefits the student officers too.
“They’re interacting with other students. It helps give them communication skills. I think it gives them confidence,” Gilgallon said.
The position also provides a valuable experience for students who are interested in careers in law enforcement.
Mushat is a political science major who is interested in working with an international law enforcement group. “I would like to gain more public service skills and make sure I have a helpful, approachable personality,” he said.
“For anyone who is hesitant to ask for an escort, I would say that we are here to make you feel safe and everyone involved are great, respectful people who are here to help,” Mushat added.
To request an escort from a student officer or the Campus Safety and Security staff, contact 570-208-5900 extension 0 or visit the college switchboard located inside the Lane’s Lane entrance of the Corgan Library.