The NIU Department of Police and Public Safety just concluded its “Meet the Chief” luncheon series Thursday, February 19, with students at Gilbert Hall.
The student-centered initiative began in the fall 2014 semester after Police Chief Tom Phillips participated in the Bold Futures workshops and President Doug Baker’s campus leadership retreat.
Phillips says, “I took a lot from the workshop and retreat and want campus police and public safety officers to do our part in creating and maintaining thriving communities.”
The goal of the Meet the Chief initiative is to allow students an opportunity to be a part of the larger conversation surrounding campus safety by bringing issues directly to Chief Phillips. He also wants to get the student perspective on recent high profile incidents in the national media about police and community relations.
“One of the things I love about working in a university setting is the opportunity to actively engage and serve such a culturally diverse community and hopefully make meaningful and lasting connections with our future leaders,“ Phillips says.
Phillips believes student feedback is an important part of his department’s “shared responsibility” approach to public safety.
Over the past year, NIU Police and Public Safety has rolled out several new student-centered initiatives. New safety programming and services such as Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) self-defense seminars, the Community Oriented Policing Strategies (C.O.P.S.) unit and the new Huskie Safe Line are directly related to feedback received from students, staff, and faculty.
“I began last semester meeting with community stakeholders including student leadership from the Student Association and the Black Student Union,” he says. “I really wanted to keep the momentum rolling by engaging NIU students where they study, learn, and live.”
Chief Phillips said that the Meet the Chief initiative will pick up again in the next fall semester with plans to make it a regular part of each academic year.