Security monitors work to keep U students safe

by Jerret Raffety

Security monitor and sophomore Chad Martin works to build trust with students in residence halls.

“I think, sadly, most people do see us more as an authority figure than a safety figure,” Martin said.

Martin is one of many students who work as security monitors. On a given night, 40 to 45 monitors secure campus and act as the “eyes and ears” of the University Police Department, said Security Monitor Program manager Ben Schnabel.

Martin said he talks with residents as much as possible to explain that many of the policies monitors enforce are for safety purposes.

“People view me as someone saying, ‘You shouldn’t prop the doors’ just ’cause there’s a sign that says so,” Martin said. “People don’t always understand that (crime) can happen on campus.”

Despite the long hours, Martin said, people are his favorite part of working in the residence halls at the University.

“(The residents) make you feel like you’re doing the most here,” Martin said.

Besides residence halls and escort services, monitors are also in charge of maintaining security in several buildings around campus.

“The University, as a whole, is not a stand-alone entity,” Schnabel said. “It is a very integral part of, and a resource to, the city, and to the state as a whole. We’re just trying to protect that resource.”

Program history

Regardless of whether students realize it, the Security Monitor Program at the University has been keeping them safe for nearly 30 years, Schnabel said.

But the monitors do not contribute to campus safety alone.

“This university is fairly unique in that it utilizes both its own police precinct, complete with a chief of police, as well as its own security program,” Schnabel said.

The monitors are equipped with a radio, to alert police of safety issues, and a first-aid kit for medical emergencies. The monitors are trained in first aid, CPR, body substance isolation and self-defense.

Some have advanced medical training to become first responders or emergency medical technicians, according to the security program Web site.

Originally created to protect research and equipment at Moos Tower after its construction in 1974, the monitor program quickly grew to provide security for several departments and buildings on campus, Schnabel said. By the late 1970s, the Security Monitor Program had adopted a new service – the safety escort.

“Regardless of who it is or where you’re going, you’re always safer with more than one person,” Schnabel said.

The service is free and open to all students, staff and faculty. Students call the service and monitors will escort them from one location on campus to another, or to adjacent neighborhoods, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

As decades progressed, more departments and buildings requested security monitors. The program was so successful that by 1992, security monitors patrolled all parts of campus, Schnabel said. In 1998, the program was put in charge of the safety of the residence halls.

Student safety

Security monitors work to ensure that students are safe, which means keeping residents and their property protected, Schnabel said.

They also enforce residence-hall policy, which includes regulations on alcohol in the buildings.

Opinions on the monitors’ presence are mixed among students, but many said they appreciate them.

“They help people feel more secure. I don’t really think they’re necessary, but it’s nice to have them there,” said Amanda Gallo, first-year student and Frontier Hall resident.