Working day and night to protect Salt Lake Community College students from danger are the members of the Utah Highway Patrol. After forging a partnership with SLCC, 11 officers of the UHP, including two Sergeants and one Lieutenant, have been tasked to protect and serve students on the Redwood, South City, and Meadowbrook campuses.
For the most part, the crimes committed on the campuses are harmless in nature, and Lt. Jeff Willmore, who commands the unit, states that most of the crimes he and his team see are minor thefts. These thefts are a result of students leaving their property unattended; this generally means leaving backpacks in hallways, laptops on desks, bikes locked with flimsy chains, or car doors unlocked.
Willmore stresses that both students and faculty need to keep their eyes on their property at all times while on campus.
Another common call the UHP unit receives has to do with minor traffic accidents that would be easily preventable through safer, more attentive driving. Most accidents are the result of drivers failing to obey the 10 mph speed limit in the campus parking lots. With students and faculty running to and from classes at all times of the day, accidents are a common occurrence on campus.
However, Willmore believes that SLCC students aren’t troublemakers. In fact, many crimes are actually committed by those who attend social events as guests of students, or who stumble onto campus one night after a few too many drinks.
At the very beginning of the semester, officers caught a peeping tom who was climbing around in the ceiling vents of a girls’ locker room. The perpetrator wasn’t a student at the time, but had been one a decade ago.
Even so, with thousands of students and only 11 officers, it can be difficult to know when every crime is being committed. However, the UHP unit has a secret weapon: you.
“Students are [our] eyes and ears,” says Sgt. Phillip Waters.
Willmore and Waters make it clear that they can’t hope to see everything that goes on between the three campuses they patrol, so their best hope to keep crime down is having SLCC students report suspicious activity.
“If you see something, contact us,” Waters says, and it’s as simple as that. If you see anything worth reporting, call (801) 957-3800 for the public safety non-emergency number.