Tips from DPS with Officer Matt Decker

Staying safe on campus

Walking around campus after dark:

“Best bet is to walk with a friend or someone that you trust. Don’t ever walk alone. We recommend that you stay in well-lit or well-populated areas. Be aware of your environment and pay attention to what’s going on around you.”

If you have to walk alone after dark:

“If you are going to your vehicle, carry your car keys in your hands. That way you have quicker access to your vehicle, or you can even use them as a weapon if you have to defend yourself.”

What can you carry as a personal protection devise?

“We really don’t like to see weapons on campus, still some women carry some sort of mace or OC spray on their key chains and that’s ok. But, our school is a weapon free zone. The best weapon would be your head.”

How do the emergency buttons around campus work?

“Always try to know where the emergency buttons are. When you hit the button it dials directly to 911, our Meceola Central Dispatch, you tell them what your emergency is and they relay it to us. By the time you push that button, in the matter of 15 to 30 seconds max, dispatch is on the radio with us and letting us know where we need to go.”

Places around campus or Big Rapids to avoid completely:

“Big Rapids is generally a safe place to be. There are a lot of alleyways and back streets that are very dark.”

Tips on staying safe in the dorms:

“My best piece of advice is if you are in your dorm, keep your door locked and same with your windows. We have had some breaking and entering on campus where people have entered through the windows, so make sure your windows are always locked also.”

How many officers are there in Big Rapids at any given time?

“At any given time we have, at the very minimum, four police officers patrolling Big Rapids; but it’s usually between six and possibly eight officers. We are definitely out and visible, being proactive and we are only two or three minutes away from you at the max.”

One piece of advice to a student on being safe on campus:

“I know it’s Ferris and it’s the college life, but really focus on why you are here. You are here to get a good education and be a productive citizen in the community. So, you are really here for one reason, and that’s getting an education, so make that your priority.”