Within Big Rapids, there are four police departments, all of whom work together to make the city and Ferris State, a safer place.
The four departments of Mecosta County include Ferris State Department of Public Safety (DPS), Big Rapids DPS, Mecosta County Sherriff’s Office and the Michigan State Police. Response to calls are venue specific, with Ferris DPS responding to on campus crimes and Mecosta County assisting in crimes located off campus and outside of Big Rapids.
Ferris DPS is the first to respond to all on campus incidents. They employ 14 certified police officers and approximately 40 students as booth attendants, dispatchers, service officers, foot patrol, traffic control and special event security. Chief Bruce Borkovich is the Director of Public Safety at Ferris.
“We want to make Ferris and the community a safe place and solve the crime at hand. We don’t focus on being territorial,” Borkovich said. “We keep people safe by knowing our resources and emergency response partners and how we can best work together.”
The last time the departments were all involved was in an investigation of the Venlo shooting early February. The original investigation was with the sheriff’s department since the incident occurred off campus.
“When the suspect was discovered to be on campus, Ferris DPS stepped in and it was all one big police agency, even the state police gave help,” Borkovich said. “No area is immune to crimes and being able to have a close relationship with neighboring departments and work great together is why crimes get solved fast in Mecosta County.”
According to Big Rapids police Officer Jim Eddinger, although it doesn’t occur often, all departments participate in mutual aid when necessary.
“If there was to be a house on fire with college students in it, we aren’t going to wait around until we are specifically called to help,” Eddinger said. “This also means that if two officers in the area are already tied up in an accident we don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from other departments when there is another emergency.”
The Big Rapids Police Division, who employs 18 full-time officers, provides services to all of Big Rapids, except the campus of Ferris State University.
“I like to remind students who live off campus to be courteous to their neighbors. Residents should know that their neighbors also have lives and to be cognitive of that while enjoying their time at college,” Eddinger said.
Ferris DPS said it acts also as a part of the education process. While students are getting their education, Ferris DPS wants them to learn how to make better decisions by asking if what they’re doing in that moment could negatively affect their career.
“We don’t want to put people in the position where they can no longer get licensed for their profession,” Borkovich said. “We ask students to come here, have fun, be safe and enjoy Ferris by keeping in mind that we aren’t your enemy, but here to keep you safe.”
Each police department is focused on one thing and one thing only, keeping residents of Big Rapids, students or not, safe. All of the four departments work hand in hand when the problem presents itself, and always keeps public safety the main priority.
Located in West Commons, the Ferris DPS stays open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for student safety. To contact for emergencies is always dialing 911. Non-emergency contact is x5000 and the Campus Crime Hotline is x5900.