DPS beefs up security

Update on body cameras, Rave text alerts and more

Ferris’ Department of Public Safety has implemented new safety procedures and reintroduced old traditions this year.

With the increase in gun violence on college campuses, some students at Ferris feel a little fear about going to classes on campus.

It has been almost a year since the shooting at Michigan State University and almost two years since the school shooting at Oxford High School. 

According to an article on CNN as of Sept. 19th, 2023, there have been 16 shootings on a college campus while there were 37 incidents of shootings at K-12 schools in the United States.

“I feel campus security is lacking,” pre-optometry student Ashley Wally said. “With the [shooting] that happened at Campus Creek during the first week of school, I think that DPS is doing the best that they can, but I don’t think that there is a big enough presence on campus.”

With the uptake in threats to campus security, Ferris DPS has expressed that the department will still fulfill their mission statement “to serve and protect the students, faculty, staff and visitors” of Ferris.

With the recent uptake in school shootings and other natural disasters one of the biggest tools that the department is recommending all members of the Ferris community to get is the Rave system.

The Department of Public Safety is currently using the WatchGuard v.330 for officers body cameras. Photo credit: Torch Archives

The Rave system is a mass communication system that law enforcement uses to communicate with the public in the quickest time possible.

“There are a lot of different components to Rave,” Brittany Taylor, DPS dispatch specialist said. “As a student staff or faculty member you are automatically added to the alerts system, but parents can opt to sign up as well. We are responsible for sending out a Rave alert if there was an active shooter or if there was clearing warning.”

To sign up for the Rave system, visit DPS’s website. Alerts can be received by text message, phone call, email or social networks including Facebook and X.

New captain and DPS Assistant Director Timothy Jacobs explained the importance of working as a team for campus safety.

“We are bringing on officers to work key hours,” Jacobs said. “This is an overtime shift created for a quicker response to any incidents and to increase the department’s visibility on campus to keep people safe. We are dedicated to building our relationship with our team members. Our team members are the faculty/staff at Ferris but especially the students here at Ferris. That’s ultimately the biggest group that we serve. Making sure everyone is safe is our top priority.”

After its disappearance in 2019 due to budget cuts, DPS is reintroducing the foot patrol program. 

This program is one where the department will have student workers working a shift from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The worker’s sole purpose will be to patrol the campus at night, escort students who don’t feel comfortable walking by themselves on or off campus and keep a lookout for any suspicious activity. The student workers will work together with DPS patrol officers.

Another tool that DPS uses is officer-worn body cameras. Jacobs weighed in on how he feels about the body cameras.

“Transparency is everything in law enforcement” Jacobs said. “The camera video is going to help protect a citizen and it’s going to protect the police officer, it’s a trust and when you have a good trust with the community it builds good relations”

Despite the changing landscape that schools in the United States are experiencing as it regarding gun violence on school property, DPS is working to be prepared for situations that happen both on and off campus.