OUPD Chief shares campus safety tips

Oakland University has always been a very safe campus community. Crime statistics and other relevant data continually support the fact that our campus is one of the safest geographical locations in Oakland County.

Further, we know that safety and security are often primary reasons prospective students and their parents choose a specific institution of higher learning. 

Our university’s administration has consistently shown a clear understanding of the importance of maintaining a safe campus environment, and a number of initiatives will serve as examples. The university has provided both support and funding for increased staffing for the OUPD as our student enrollment increases.  They have expanded community safety education, training and equipment to enhance our officers’ abilities to meet OU’s expanding law enforcement needs, and significant and continual upgrades in security technology throughout the campus.

However, in just the last few years, the challenges universities are confronted with have changed dramatically. Recent tragedies, such as those occurring at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, and Aurora Colorado have stunned the nation and understandably received massive media attention and official scrutiny. 

To prepare for these new challenges, the OUPD continually researches developments in the field of emergency preparedness and analyzes tragic events for the purpose of learning how we can improve our own plans.

To advance our ability to react to such events should they occur at OU, we have enhanced our emergency evacuation process, safety alert notifications and emergency lockdown procedures. To improve the response capabilities of the OUPD, officers have and will continue to participate in advanced training programs with upgraded equipment, and we will continue to build on our mutually cooperative working relationships with the surrounding law enforcement community and emergency first responders. We have also endeavored to improve our proactive and preventive efforts.

For example, we are now equipped to send text message alerts to your cell phone in the event of a major campus emergency. You can subscribe to receive the alerts at www.oakland.edu/prepared , our comprehensive Emergency Preparedness website.  I strongly encourage everyone to sign up for the text messaging alert system Oakland University has implemented.

In addition, our Dispatch Communications Center is now capable of receiving text message tips and reports through a dedicated computer system. Because our ability to reply to text messages is limited, and to enhance our ability to respond appropriately to emergency calls, we always prefer to receive reports or notifications by voice — 911 from campus phones or (248) 370-3333 from cell phones. However, if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation and you cannot call or would feel more comfortable texting our dispatcher for assistance, you may send a text message by typing OUPD and your message to MRAVE (67283).

I am certain we would all agree that these are necessary and important initiatives. However, the success of these efforts depends directly on whether we, as a campus community, understand that keeping OU safe is everyone’s responsibility. The work of the OUPD and the university administration can only go so far. We need everyone’s involvement to ensure our campus remains safe. 

To that end, and as we begin a new academic year, I urge you to spend a few minutes on our Emergency Preparedness website, www.oakland.edu/prepared. Here you will find all of our emergency procedures as well as a link to an online course on how to recognize and report warning signs of potentially violent behavior.

Working together as a team, watching out for each other and for our university, we can all enjoy a safe and successful educational experience this year.