Whitworth’s campus security force: Ready to serve

This fall changes have occured in the security department on campus, including the installation of new equipment, reorganization of staff and the addition of a student officer. Leading changes to Whitworth’s security team is Jacquelyn Christensen, who was hired in July as security supervisor. Christensen is from California and has a background in law enforcement and security at other institutions.

Christensen expressed her excitement at being at Whitworth, and spoke about some security advancements that are taking place on campus.

The size of the security staff has increased with three new hires. There are two new full-time officers as well as one student who has been hired for part-time duty. Junior Joel Diaz, Mark Hogquist, and Leroy McCall, also known as Mac, are the new officers.

Christensen stressed the competence of her staff, many of whom have backgrounds in law enforcement or the military. The new student hire, Diaz, is an important part of the staff who will add a student’s perspective and insight to the team, she said.

“Security wants to hear the voice of a student. They want to know what the campus feels,” Diaz said.

One of the benefits of being a student as well as an officer is the ability to recognize those who are students and those who are not, Diaz said.

Some of the criteria for student hires is that they are students who have an interest in the law enforcement field and also have the right attitude, Christensen said. She said that this attitude includes the mindset that they are here to serve the students, not to police the campus.

“I’m glad to help keep the campus safe for faculty, staff and students. We create a lot of memories here and we want them to be good ones,” Diaz said.

Christensen described the duties of the officers.

“The officers’ main functions are crime prevention and serving the needs of the students. Crime prevention is being proactive by looking for people who do not belong on campus, maintaining high visibility, patrolling trouble spots such as bike racks or the HUB area,” Christensen said.

Beyond additions to staff, Whitworth will be installing three emergency phones around campus. These phones will be available to students to use if they have an emergency or are feeling unsafe, uneasy or in need of assistance.

The need for additional lighting in the Cornerstone area was brought to Christensen’s attention when two female students mentioned that the lighting is insufficient. Facilities Services and Safety are now examining this request. Whether or not the university will decide to make changes is unknown at this time.

While Christensen said that Whitworth is an especially safe place to be, she still said that students should take precautions.

“Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t walk alone and don’t walk in the dark. Don’t hesitate to call for safe walks,” Christensen said.

Safe walks are an escort service that security staff provides to students so that theynever have to feel endangered while traveling across campus. Theme houses are also included in all services that security provides. The number to call is 509-777-4444.

“When I’m running in the Back 40 I see them [security officers] patrolling back there which makes me feel safe,” sophomore Heather Lenhardt said.

She takes precautions like locking her door and computer, and not walking alone in the dark, she said.

A final tip from Christensen was to use U-locks when locking bikes. Cable locks do not work; five bikes locked with cable locks had been stolen in the past 36 hours, she said. Tuesday evening officers chased a suspected bike thief carrying bolt cutters off campus. U-locks are essential in preventing stolen bikes.

Christensen said the security staff are a great resource, and students should not hesitate to use them when needed.

“They are here to ensure safety and to serve,” she said.

Kendra Stubbs Staff Writer

Contact Kendra Stubbs at kstubbs15@my.whitworth.edu