What Makes a Safe College Campus?

by Paul Morales —

Many parents have questions about the safety of a campus when touring colleges on their child's "favorite list." As a veteran of nearly two decades with the Trinity University Police Department, I’d like to share some questions that parents should ask when evaluating the safety of a university campus.

Does the university offer 24-hour dispatch services?

At Trinity University, a dispatcher is available 24/7, 365 days a year. The department’s communications officers are State licensed and Certified. All officers must complete the required hours of training each year to maintain their license. TUPD Communications consists of four officers and one supervisor.

Does the university hire certified peace officers?

The Trinity University Police Department consists of 18 full-time Texas Certified Police Officers and three part time Certified Police Officers. The department has several divisions to include Investigations, Training, Crime Prevention/Community Awareness, and Communications.

What type of alert systems are in place in case of bad weather or in the event of a crisis?

Trinity University is equipped with an Emergency Notification System with large speakers that are placed on different rooftop locations throughout upper and lower campus. These speakers will notify university members who are not inside of a building when a critical event occurs. TUPD Communications division is responsible for these emergency messages.

TrinAlert is a notification system that we recommend the Trinity community register for on their personal phones. This will notify them of a critical event on or near campus via text message. TUPD Communications division is also responsible for initiating these emergency messages to the community.

The VoIP notification system is a feature that all university telephones are equipped with to include all academic buildings and residence halls. This system will directly send a voice message and instructions for safety to every university phone on campus. TUPD Communications division is also responsible for these emergency messages.

Will officers escort students to residence halls after hours or at night?

Trinity’s officers do escort students to their residence halls after hours and throughout the night by vehicle or golf cart. The student simply needs to contact TUPD at 210-999-7070 (non-emergency) and request an escort. TUPD has an escort program called “Tiger Tracks.”

A Trinity University police officer visits with a student during the health and wellness fair.
How do police officers get to know the students?

TUPD Crime Prevention/Community Awareness division initiates community events that focus on the personal safety of students on and off campus. These events include Alcohol Awareness, Sexual Assault Awareness, Stalking Awareness, National Campus Safety Month, and Texas/National Night Out, to name a few. By having these types of events throughout campus, TUPD makes great contacts with Trinity students. We are also known for our tasty “Cop Corn” that we make and provide for our students, which allows us the opportunity for one-on-one engagement. Who doesn't like popcorn? TUPD is also invited by many Trinity departments to participate in their events. We also initiated the “Coffee with the Cops” events which gives the students and the entire community the opportunity to engage with police officers and discuss areas of concerns or just enjoy cup of coffee together. Throughout the semester, TUPD engages with the community at least 25 times through different events.

Should students have ready access to the campus police department’s phone number?

At Trinity, students are strongly encouraged to input 210-999-7070 (non-emergency) and 210-999-7000 (emergency) into their cell phones to call in the event of an emergency.

Are there other safety-through-technology programs for students?

Trinity also encourages students to download the Trinity University ELERTS Safety Phone Application, a FREE phone application that includes:

* Providing students with virtual security escorts at any time.
* Allowing students to initiate a police report discreetly using text messages in real time.
* Making possible real-time, two way chats that allow TUPD to interact with students in real time.

Trinity University Officer Paul Morales shares a safety tip with a student.
Is it important for students to read the University's police website?

Yes, there is very important information on the TUPD website that includes an introduction of the department, Parking Services, Emergency Procedures, Crime Statistics, Additional Services and so much more.

About Paul

Corporal Paul Morales has been with the Trinity University Police Department for 19 years and is currently assigned to the Community Awareness Division, where he enjoys being able to engage with students about preventative and personal safety issues. A proud member of the Trinity community, his son is a sophomore at Trinity. Paul adds, “A great part of my job is being able to be there for the students when they need my assistance. I feel that I have a passion for keeping up and being part of our learning environment.”


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