Campus Safety Week to focus on prevention, building trust

UWM will kick off its annual Campus Safety Week Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Spaights Plaza, just north of the UWM Student Union, with an emphasis on prevention and strengthening community trust. The event will include safety information and resources from all over the campus and around the community. (In case of inclement weather, the events will move to the library overhang at the north end of the plaza.)

In addition to presenting health and safety information, Safety Week is a good opportunity to strengthen old relationships and build new ones with the campus community, said UWM Police Chief David Salazar.

While UWM is in a very safe neighborhood, he said, “we especially want to focus on our students who haven’t lived on or near campus before by providing them with information on how to keep themselves safe.”

At the Monday kickoff event, students, faculty and staff can learn from more than two dozen information booths and presentations representing campus and community organizations. Representatives of the UWM Legal Clinic, Neighborhood Housing, Innovative Weather, the Student Health and Wellness Center’s sexual violence prevention and suicide prevention programs and others will be on hand.

A student safety officer stands on duty.
A UWM Police student safety officer stands on duty in 2019. (UWM Photo Services/Elora Hennessey)

Susan Cushman, coordinator of the health center’s alcohol and drug abuse program, will do a presentation on opioids.

In addition, the Milwaukee Fire and Police departments, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office and organizations including Aurora Health Care’s victim advocacy service, Milwaukee Safe and Sound and the Autism Society of Southeast Wisconsin will be available to answer questions and share information.

The UWM Safety and Assurances Department will offer fire extinguisher training, and the Department of Transportation will have a simulator available to demonstrate the importance of wearing a safety belt.

Visitors will also have the chance to register for the UWM Police Department’s new Citizens Academy and for a car theft prevention device.

With the focus on prevention, the police department will be sharing common sense tips like locking doors and walking with others. “You have to be aware of your surroundings – where you are and who is around you. Don’t walk around with your head buried in your phone,” Salazar said.

The police department encourages students to take advantage of programs like the B.O.S.S. rides and RAVE Guardian. RAVE is a mobile safety and alert app that connects students, faculty and staff directly with university police resources through texting, confidential tips, location sharing, a call directory and a safety/resource content portal. One feature allows users to post their departures and expected arrival times with a friend or a police officer so someone can keep track of them when walking alone.

In another preventive effort, the police department is reaching out proactively to owners of Hyundais and Kias who park on campus to let them know free steering wheel locks are available for their vehicles, Salazar said. Certain models of these cars have been frequent targets for thieves.

The Police Department is also working collaboratively with the Dean of Students office on issues like rowdy parties in the neighborhoods or residence halls, minor disputes, traffic and drug infractions, he added. “We’re really blessed to have a partnership with that office,” Salazar said.

Often the solution to minor infractions is just a matter of educating students to be respectful of neighbors by keeping the noise down or to be aware of the campus health and wellness resources to help them deal with problems with drugs and alcohol or anxiety and stress. “If we can deal with some of these problems at a lower level, they don’t escalate,” Salazar said.

After the kick-off on Monday, Safety Week will continue with a series of other events to give students and the campus community a chance to learn more about safety and get to know the members of the police department.

Here is the schedule for the rest of the week:

Tuesday, Sept. 20

  • Classroom safety virtual presentation for faculty and instructional staff, 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Alcohol Drug Awareness, Cambridge Commons, 7-9 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 21

  • You Can Help! Prevention Suicide, Northwest Quadrant D building, Room 8990, 3:30-5 p.m.
  • Safety training signup, Bolton Hall breezeway, 1-4 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 22

  • (postponed) Coffee with a Cop event, Golda Meir Library, West Wing 1st floor, 10 a.m. to noon
  • Self-defense training, Zelazo, Room 171, 3-5 p.m.
  • Sandburg safe night out, Sandburg Hall Commons, 7-9 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 23

  • Safety training sign-up, Lubar Hall breezeway, 10 a.m. to noon
  • Narcan training, Chapman Hall, Room 211 3-4 p.m.
  • Civilian Response to active shooter event, Chapman Hall, Room 211, 4-6 p.m.


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