Huskie Patrol keeps eye on campus

By Nyssa Bulkes

Scanning parking lots for damaged property and escorting students back to their dorms in the dark are typical job responsibilities for junior journalism major Tim Davis.

Davis is a supervisor for the Huskie Student Patrol, one of 24 employed students keeping a close eye on late-night NIU.

The patrol is split into two shifts, one from 6 to 10 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.

Sweeps went on a walk-along with Davis that included a walk down Lucinda Avenue, a loop through the Convocation Center parking lots and a stroll by the Stevenson and Douglas residence halls.

The Huskie Student Patrol acts as a liaison to the NIU Police Department.

“If we think a car might have been broken into, we have a radio with two frequencies. If it’s a real crisis, we want to be on the police frequency,” Davis said. “But unless it’s an actual emergency, we don’t bother the police with that since we have our own frequency.”

The Huskie Student Patrol is specifically designed for students. Freshman anthropology major Amber Mose thinks the service is reassuring.

“It makes me feel safer,” Mose said. “I don’t know if I’m ever going to use it, but it does make me feel safer knowing it’s there.”

The Huskie Student Patrol is an asset to the students for their personal safety and to the University Police for acting as watchful eyes, leaving the police free for more serious problems.

“We’re not trying to stop crime. We’re just trying to prevent it by acting as eyes and ears. We’re visual deterrents,” Davis said. “People see us in the parking lots and if they’re thinking of breaking into a car, they know someone is always watching.”

During every patrol shift, groups of two or three make rounds, checking parking lots for broken glass and making sure any loiterers aren’t doing anything other than what is allowed. Patrolled areas are broken up into zones, and each team is responsible for surveying their perspective zone per evening.

“We go into a lot, and I’ll call it in. We’ll just walk up and down each aisle, keeping an eye out,” Davis said. “We don’t check the dorms. The police or dorm security watch those places.”

The Huskie Patrol also offers patrons with company if they feel uneasy walking across campus in the dark alone. Two patrol-members will come and pick up the student and walk them wherever they need to go, as far as just outside the NIU campus.

“There are millions of flyers around campus, but people don’t necessarily see them,” Davis said. “The best way for people to find out about us is to see us walking around.”

Some students on campus may be more in favor of the late night ride, a bus which is available for students to catch and ride back to their building during the later hours.

“We get one to two [calls] a week,” Davis said. “We may need more time to get to you, depending on where we are on campus, whereas the late night ride can get to you right away.”

Even in his third year, Davis is still happy to be a help to the police. Although a good-samaritan indeed, Davis noted one aspect of work that was tiresome.

“People come up to us with their parking tickets and say, ‘Did you give this to me?’ because they come out at night and see us and they see the tickets,” Davis said.