Safe On Campus – SDSU has full-time police force, call-boxes

Edward Kearns

Edward Kearns

In South Dakota most feel well-separated from the troubles of big-city life. Crime is rarer in rural areas and most people don’t even think about it much. For some, this is one of the best reasons to come to SDSU.

Yet crime can happen here, and it’s important to know how to keep yourself safe.

Security is the last thing you probably wants to think about. With so much going on in class and around campus, it can be difficult to think about the things you should be doing. Although there are many safety resources on campus, you might not know what they are.

University Police Department

The University Police Department provides 24-hour emergency service for the SDSU campus. UPD has a staff of 13. Along with dispatch officers and office staff, they also employ 12 student security patrol officers.

Their main jurisdiction is the SDSU campus, but they also provide police support to the city and county of Brookings.

If you ever feel in danger, you can contact UPD for an escort. An officewill escort you to where you need to go on campus. This service should not be abused, however. You should only call for an escort if they truly feel they need it for safety.

“I feel very safe on our campus,” says Stephani Akers, an SDSU senior. “I’m not afraid to walk across campus in the dark because I know that if there was an emergency, UPD would respond quickly.”


There are 12 emergency callboxes throughout the campus. Activating any one of them will connect you directly with UPD dispatch. These boxes can be used to report a crime in progress, fire, medical emergency or any threat to your own personal safety. Tempting as it may be, activating one of these boxes except for an emergency is a crime.

Using the call boxes is easy. In an emergency press the “push for help” button and hold it until the green light comes on. When you release the button the blue light above the box will also come on. When the call received light comes on, press the call button and as calmly as possible state your emergency. All that’s left is to release the button and listen.

You should always follow the dispatcher’s instructions after activating a call box. Never leave the area unless you are in physical danger. If you are being followed, chased or threatened, activate the call box, but keep moving to the nearest occupied building and activate any call boxes you pass along the way. UPD will respond, even if you don’t speak to a dispatcher.

Safety tips

When out walking or jogging, take a friend along. The more people you have with you, the less likely it is something can happen. Avoid taking shortcuts through alley and parking lots. Stay on well-lit sidewalks and roads.

Dating can also raise safety concerns. Students should know their limits and communicate them directly with their date. Being up front about what you expect from your date will make the whole experience more enjoyable.

You should also make sure that a friend always knows where you’re going and who you’re going with. If you don’t return in the morning, someone will know where to look for you.

Carry a cell phone with you if at all possible. Car accidents and medical emergencies can happen. Quick emergency contact can help save lives.

Bottom line

No matter where you are, or what you are doing, feeling comfortable should always be a top priority. Anytime you feel uncomfortable in a situation, get up and leave.Know your limits and never do anything you are unsure of.