Edith Hudson is nearing her 100th day on the job as chief of the Marquette University Police Department and some initiatives that she is supporting are starting to take shape.
She brought more than 25 years of experience on the Milwaukee Police Department to campus and has started her tenure with a needs assessment of the department. Since then, she has worked on the necessary areas to help MUPD better serve the campus community, as well as the Near West Side.
Among her first focuses are student transportation and community policing, while she also has a commitment to officer safety and wellness. She hopes to keep MUPD on the leading edge of advancements in the field by embracing technology and innovation.
LIMO service is where Hudson is seeking input from the Marquette community on how to make the service more useful to students and staff. She hopes to engage students, both the drivers and passengers, on ways to make the service better. One aspect is streamlining the process for calling a LIMO for service.
“I plan to work with the EagleEye vendor on incorporating the LIMO service into the app more,” Hudson said. “The app has gotten such positive feedback and we would like to continue to utilize it in making the services on campus more accessible.”
Community policing is a big focus of Hudson, as several initiatives of MUPD are focused on getting the officers engaged with the campus community.
“Community policing is an important part of effective policing,” Hudson said. “It involves getting to know your community on a personal basis. That way, you can provide better service because they know the people you are serving. It also gives the community some voice on what the police prioritizes.”
Programs such as “Adopt a Hall” and “Coffee with a Cop” are meant to foster these relationships. With Adopt a Hall, officers have volunteered to participate by having a presence in the halls during their shifts and making themselves available for meetings to develop relationships with the students.
Coffee with a Cop offers an opportunity for students to chat with an officer and say hello to Nattie, MUPD’s community outreach dog. Coffee with a Cop occurs on the first Friday of each month at The Brew in the AMU from noon to 1 p.m.
“We are giving the students a familiar face,” Hudson said. “They can develop a relationship with us and, if they have questions they might think are dumb or would be embarrassed to ask, they have someone they can talk to.”
Hudson and her staff also make an effort to have a presence at many campus functions, not necessarily in a policing capacity but to further engage with the Marquette community.
“Equipping officers to succeed on the job goes past equipment,” Hudson said. “Just like with our policies and procedures, we want them to continually evolve as officers and as people. There are very involved programs that the state of Wisconsin has to offer and I plan to look into that more.”
Ensuring a safe environment for everyone on Marquette’s campus and the surrounding community is MUPD’s top priority. More than 80 officers work around the clock to both prevent and respond to incidents. The department’s safety infrastructure includes more than 700 cameras, 450 blue light emergency phones, a state-of-the-art command center, campus-wide text alert system and a nationally recognized student safety program.