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SGA and campus police team up for student event

VSU’s Student Government Association (SGA) held a combined event with the campus police department and offered free coffee to students to build a stronger unity between students and the police.

The event took place at Converse Square on March 26 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event was open to all passing students and had a consistent flow of traffic throughout the hours.

Sabrina Maine, a junior and criminal justice major, helped run the event. She is part of the SGA safety and parking committee.

“We would like to reach the students and get them more comfortable with the police officers on campus,” said Maine. “There seems to be disconnection and to get them aware of the Blazer Guardian app.”

The Blazer Guardian app is a free safety feature offered to all VSU faculty and students.

The app has several different safety features.

It allows people to feel safer in the community with the option to be escorted by police from anywhere on campus, most commonly from the parking garage to residence buildings.

There is a safety timer feature, where the police are immediately notified if the person is not at their selected location within a certain time.

There is also a panic button feature that alerts the police of where they are and the student’s profile.

The tip feature allows people to send anonymous messages to the University Police Department (UPD) if they feel unsafe but are not able to speak on the phone.

Tim Balch, a training and investigative officer for the Valdosta Police Department (VPD) was present at the event and spoke with individuals who were interested in getting to better know the police department.

He described the event as aimed at creating a personal and more understanding relationship between students and police officers.

“It’s mainly aimed to try and get the police department and the students to interact with each other, basically build some type of relationship,” said Balch. “The way that the world is, people don’t have a very favorable look at the police department. It’s just letting them know that we’re human and the same as them and want to be friends with them.”

Kevin Cox, VSU patrol officer, also spoke with students and those interested at the event.

“It allows us to engage with the students, talk to them, and let them have coffee,” said Cox. “Talk to them about the services that we provide in an informal, casual setting.”

The event was meant to be casual and welcoming, to create an inviting environment for VSU students to feel more connected to the VPD.

Cox described the event as slower in the beginning, as it hadn’t hit lunchtime and students were still in class.

“I’m hoping after people start getting out of classes, right around noon, it will pick up,” said Cox.

Around noon, it did rise in attraction.

Balch said that the event turnout was good in his eyes. He noted that there is always a pretty decent turnout when something that is offered to college students is free.

“I think it’s been pretty good actually,” said Balch. “Anytime you do something free with college.”

No matter the turnout, Cox just wished to reach students.

“If we talk to five people, that is five more people that we would have talked to otherwise,” said Cox. “It’s more fluid than static because of people come through, and that’s no pun intended on the fluid.”

Maine agreed as she saw through the SGA perspective of the event.

“I think that we’ve been doing pretty well as a turnout,” said Maine. “I think we’ve made a really good impact so far.”


Written by Jenna Arnold, News Editor. Photo by Gavin Ponder, Graphics Editor.

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