North Texas Daily

Police Department to extend free safety programs

Police Department to extend free safety programs

February 13
02:28 2016

Chelsea Watkins | Staff Writer

@chelloo

The UNT police are looking to offer more frequent public safety programs to the UNT community.

The programs, open to all students and faculty, provide lessons on how to interact with police, respond in an active shooter situation, how to be safe on campus and general self-defense.

UNT police community relations officer Kevin Crawford conducts the public safety programs. He said they are typically requested by organizations, such as residential halls, to host a presentation. Currently, the police are looking into holding open sessions at the police department periodically.

Community Relations Officer Kevin Crawford stands in the Sullivant Public Safety Center lobby. Officer Crawford runs the multiple free police classes on campus and in the Denton community. Sarah Bradbury | Staff Photographer

Community relations officer Kevin Crawford stands in the Sullivant Public Safety Center lobby. Crawford runs the multiple free police classes on campus and in the Denton community. Sarah Bradbury | Staff Photographer

“These programs are important because you can take those people who just don’t know, and you can educate them, you can talk to them,” Crawford said. “And it’s important that it’s free because if you start charging, people aren’t going to utilize it.”

Since coming to UNT, Crawford introduced a program that teaches people how to respond to police officers during traffic stops and other encounters. The program also explains, within limits, what the officer’s mentality is on the opposite side of the situation.

Officers have been trained to respond to certain situations and their response may vary depending how a person acts, he said. For example, cops may act more aggressively if someone opens their car door during a traffic stop, because they’ve been taught that it may lead to a shooting incident.

“Cops may ask you ask you to sit on the curb and it may be because they may think you are a risk to them,” he said. “It’s not like we’re trying to sit there and say, ‘Oh, we’re the police officer.’”

If students could only choose one program, Crawford said he would recommend they take theft prevention, as it is a prevalent issue on campus police see happening again and again.

“Most of our crimes are self-inflicted thefts,” Crawford said, referring to students who leave their belongings unattended in open spaces like classrooms or the library and leave momentarily.

“Theft from a police officer’s standpoint is one of the more important ones because if we could get everyone educated on theft prevention we could reduce some of our numbers and incidents for crimes,” he said.

To help with theft prevention the police will, upon request, engrave a person’s driver license number into valuable items.

“The idea behind engraving the number is it increases the probability of either catching the thief or recovering the property,” Crawford said.

However, Crawford encourages students to go through the theft prevention program to learn more about how to keep their belongings safe before getting their items engraved, as it is a worst-case scenario option.

Anyone interested in setting up a program for a group can contact the police department. Custom programs can be designed upon request.

Featured Image: The Sullivant Public Safety Center is where the police safety classes are held unless the business who holds the class provides an area. Sarah Bradbury | Staff Photographer

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