Eastern Michigan University says it will be spending more $1.7 million on safety improvement, which will include more police officers, cameras and more lights on campus.
"Our goal is to maintain the very successful safety and security operations in place on Eastern's campus while also expanding our off-campus presence," said Bob Heighes, EMU's executive director of public safety and chief of police. "These measures, in terms of new staffing and capital improvements, continue our efforts in both of these areas."
The university is budgeting $820,000 in its general fund operating budget to pay for a significant expansion of the EMU police force this year. Four officers were added this spring, another four will be added this summer, and two more will join the police force in the fall, bringing the EMU police force to 43 officers, the most the university has ever had.
The funds will pay for salaries, benefits and associated expenditures for the new officers such as equipment and vehicles.
In addition, the regents approved a capital budget expenditure of $175,000, to pay for renovation of the headquarters in the Department of Public Safety to accommodate the new officers joining the force. The renovation is part of $922,000 in capital funds to be devoted to measures related to safety and security this coming year.
EMU officers are part of the increased collaboration with the Ypsilanti Police and the Washtenaw County Sheriff to patrol neighborhoods surrounding campus where EMU students and employees live. Eastern Michigan officers are professional, fully trained police officers, having been deputized by the Washtenaw County Sheriff and sworn in by the city of Ypsilanti. This provides EMU officers with jurisdiction in the City of Ypsilanti and in Washtenaw County.
"Our goal is to maintain the very successful safety and security operations in place on Eastern’s campus while also expanding our off-campus presence," said Bob Heighes, EMU’s executive director of public safety and chief of police.
In addition, Eastern continues to work with private rental companies surrounding campus to press for further safety measures in those areas. Peninsular Place Apartments and University Green Apartments, located just north of the EMU campus, and The Red Lion, located on South Grove Road, have recently added surveillance cameras and new security patrols.
Other safety and security expenditures:
- Further installation of surveillance cameras around the EMU campus, adding to the more than 500 units already in place. Cost: $375,000.
- Eastern has budgeted $87,000 for the coming year to work with DTE Energy in adding new perimeter lighting in the Leforge Road area and along Huron River Drive, stretching back west to Cornell Road.
- Evacuation signage for all buildings on campus: Cost: $175,000.
- Installing of AED (defibrillators) in 15 buildings, such as the Warner and Rackham buildings and Boone Hall, in addition to the units already installed in main campus buildings. Cost: $110,000.
- An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable electronic device that diagnoses the life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and is able to treat them through defribrillation, that is, the application of electrical therapy that stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.