As part of the President’s Task Force on Community Safety, Marquette and its neighborhood stakeholders identified key safety and security priorities and proposed solutions for infrastructure, personnel, resources and partnership. Throughout this past summer and early fall, the university, Marquette University Police Department and Near West Side Partners focused on hiring and activating important services to build relationships, deter crime and facilitate safe rides for campus. Here are important updates about safety personnel and their work on campus and in the neighborhood.
More LIMO drivers providing safe rides for students
During the summer, the Department of Campus Safety and MUPD worked diligently to hire more LIMO drivers and now have 40 LIMO drivers, with additional applicants in the hiring process. Being a student LIMO driver is now the best paying student job on campus with a starting rate of $15 an hour. Anyone who’s interested in exploring an opportunity with the program can still apply.
The LIMO program, which became the first of its kind in the United States when it began in 1986, safely transports Marquette community members to and from campus locations from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., 365 days a year. There are seven vans in the LIMO Services fleet, each holding up to 14 passengers.
The Department of Campus Safety, MUPD and the university are continuously evaluating options to improve the experience and use of the LIMO program on campus. It’s a program that matters to the university and it will continue to be a priority.
Directed patrol missions focus on specific issues
Beginning this fall, MUPD began directed patrol missions, which is a way of strategically using existing resources for problem-specific policing.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the directed patrol missions conduct homeless outreach from 16th Street and Wisconsin Ave. to the AMU. In the afternoons from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the squad is focused on auto thefts and apprehending perpetrators of robberies facilitated with stolen vehicles, especially Hyundais and Kias. Because stolen vehicles are often used in robberies, MUPD works with the Milwaukee Police Department to receive the latest information on recently stolen vehicles and plate numbers that could appear in the MUPD patrol zone.
MUPD has a limited supply of free steering wheel locks (clubs) that are available for students, faculty or staff who own Kia or Hyundai cars, which have been targeted in auto thefts across the city of Milwaukee.
MUPD establishing its Behavioral Health Unit
In June, the university committed to creating a Behavioral Health Unit within MUPD.
This includes a mental health professional/behavioral health officer and a law enforcement crisis worker. The behavioral health officer will work proactively with the law enforcement crisis worker to identify and connect individuals in need of services who have, or are likely to have, repeated contact with police, and to divert individuals impacted by untreated mental illness from the criminal justice system whenever possible. The Counseling Center and the Care Team have been part of the interview process, and MUPD is in the final selection process for both positions.
Last month, Milwaukee County opened its new Mental Health Emergency Center, which was purposely relocated closer to downtown and nearer to the communities that historically have needed its services the most. The new facility is just north of MUPD’s northern patrol boundary. While having the facility closer is helpful, the increasing volume of calls to MUPD for service and the complexities navigating the community’s mental health system have highlighted the need to expand our approach to allow two important systems – criminal justice and mental health –to intersect and collaborate effectively to better serve our community. The new Behavioral Health Unit will provide this critical support within MUPD’s patrol zone and will be operational by the end of the year.
Two new Near West Side Partners Ambassadors
As part of the Safety Task Force, Marquette worked with Near West Side Partners, Inc. to hire two more ambassadors for its NWSP Ambassadors program. MUPD was involved in the onboarding, and the two new ambassadors are currently working on outreach to local businesses.
NWSP Ambassadors are critical to building relationships that establish trust and engagement among the neighborhoods. Ambassadors are Near West Side residents who are well connected in the community. Through their patrols, they connect residents, businesses, law enforcement, local, non-deputized security operations and social service agencies. They address non-criminal quality of life issues, property violations, blight reporting and documenting nuisances. Ambassadors also interact with the homeless population and connect them with resources. Learn more about how Marquette University and NWSP work together on neighborhood vitality.
In case you missed it, catch up on safety infrastructure updates and the latest safety alert text offering for parents and guardians.