Elon University Campus Safety and Police is in the early weeks of its new program, Campus Safety Office Hours, taking place in each residential neighborhood.
Every campus police officer is assigned a 12-hour shift in one of Elon’s neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has three officers. Campus Police Chief Joe LeMire said this program is about relationship building and creating different avenues for positive interactions.
“No successful police department has ever existed that didn't build relationships in the community,” LeMire said. “You can't build those relationships unless you're actually in front of them and having conversations.”
LeMire said he hopes students will use the department as a resource.
“It's not here to have a wall and say, you only talk to me if you have a major issue,” LeMire said. “When I tell the parents during orientation, call us — I'm not just the chief on campus. I'm your chief because your son or daughter is going to school here.”
LeMire said office hours are all about accessibility. He and the other officers want to build personal connections with all students that will last from class to class.
“The police department in my own mind should be probably the safest place on campus,” LeMire said. “Anybody should be able to walk in our front door and get a compassionate, empathetic, competent police officer to handle whatever it is they bring. It could be small, it could be big, it could be serious, could be personal, could be major crime, small crime. Whatever the issue is, they're going to get a person that's going to help them.”
Lemire hopes students will use this opportunity to talk about any topic ranging from favorite football teams to more serious questions or concerns.
He also reminded students to download the RAVE mobile safety app, which is another less formal way to connect with campus police.