LETTER: Selfless service from Rutgers police officers deserves praise from University
To the Editor:
This past week, the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) issued a survey asking students to rate the performance of its officers. I personally think RUPD does an excellent job on campus, but they aren't getting enough cooperation from either the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) or the off-campus community.
I know the police don't always have the best judgement, sometimes making difficult situations worse or making very questionable decisions. But students should understand that the police have a difficult job, and we should give them at least as much benefit of the doubt as we give people whose civil rights have been violated. Police officers are lied to everyday, so they tend to treat all suspects, both guilty and innocent, quite poorly. This doesn't justify the many incidents of injustice perpetrated by law enforcement. This doesn't mitigate the often irresponsible behavior of officers. However, police officers put their lives in danger everyday to keep our communities safe. Mistakes by law enforcement undermine public safety and trust in the police, and we should assume officers wish to prevent such mistakes as much as the public does.
RUPD offers many services that students are not aware of. I think RUPD should organize more tables at student centers throughout the semester to bring attention to these services. In particular the Community Service Officers (CSOs) should be present at those tables, and CSOs should have an expanded role in promoting public safety initiatives, and in facilitating communication between RUPD and the student body. CSOs are full-time students who work part-time for RUPD. You can see them providing security at sports events and in the residences halls. The CSO program is a truly outstanding program, and I wish more universities had a program like it.
Also it might be time to develop a community watch for the off-campus Rutgers community in New Brunswick. A community watch might go a long way in preventing crime and facilitating greater cooperation between the community, RUPD and NBPD. There are many of us who don't say anything, but we are very proud of the work RUPD does, and we appreciate what a difficult job they have keeping the university community safe.
Winston Ho is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in Chinese language and history.
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