Published on Thursday, January 11, 2018
Media Contact: Ruth Cummins
When he sees the blue flashing lights of a University of Mississippi Medical Center police cruiser, Edgar Meyer isn’t alarmed.
It’s just the opposite. He and other students appreciate the constant vigilance of the Medical Center’s 110 campus police staff members, 74 of them sworn, certified officers.
“Around the clock, they are keeping our campus safe,” said Meyer, an Associated Student Body member and graduate assistant in the clinical anatomy program of the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomical Sciences.
“They provide so many services to us that we want to extend in some small way a service to them, and to let them know that we appreciate all they do.”
The Associated Student Body, with representatives of all seven professional schools, treated campus police to a catered lunch Tuesday in the Student Union. Purposely held in conjunction with National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, the event was a chance for students and members of the police force to get to know each other and take a few minutes for a relaxing meal.
“It’s only one day,” Meyer said of the lunch. “That’s not in any way enough to show our gratitude for all that they do, but it’s a small step toward showing that the student body cares. We’re aware that they work really hard to make sure that we have a safe campus, not just for the students, but for faculty and staff, and patients and visitors.”
The UMMC Police Department enforces all criminal laws and traffic rules of Mississippi. It works in conjunction with other law enforcement, including the Jackson Police Department and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department.
William Thomas, a second-year nursing student and Associated Student Body president, joined Meyer in organizing the event. He said he’s personally experienced how campus police serve and protect.
“In clinicals one day, there was a Code White (unruly person). Within 10 or 15 seconds, about 10 officers showed up,” Thomas said. “They were professional and handled the situation very effectively so that students and employees were able to focus on our job duties, which is to take care of our patients.”
In addition to the 74 sworn officers, the department employs 32 security officers, said Assistant Police Chief Deveesha Magee. The uniformed security officers are trained to work in conjunction with sworn officers, but don’t carry weapons, Magee said.
Security officer Jordan Speights was among those who attended the luncheon. “It feels good to be appreciated,” said Speights, who joined the department in August. “It’s really nice that they went out of their way to set this up.”
“At any given time, we’ll have anywhere from 18-21 officers and security on duty for each shift,” Magee said. “It’s a mixture of security and police – 10-12 police officers and 6-7 security officers.”
Blue lights, she said, “are just one measure of our visibility. We use them to let not only the bad guys know we’re out there, but all others as well. We have officers and security walking through our hospitals. Visibility is a big deterrent, and it’s a welcoming thing for our students and employees.”
Meyer said campus police have gotten him out of a tight spot several times after he accidentally locked his keys in his office after hours. “If I couldn’t have called campus police, I would have been in a pretty dire situation,” Meyer said.
And then there was the time that Meyer inadvertently touched the emergency button in a campus elevator. A campus police officer immediately responded, he said.
“It’s great,” Magee said of the lunch. “Whenever we can be appreciated for the job we do, it’s always a great feeling.”
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