Southern University starts new policing program on campus

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Southern University has a police force of 24 men and women.  Five of those officers now leave their police cruisers parked and use their feet to get around campus.

The new way of policing is called the 'Walk, Talk and Respond'.  One officer says by making their presence known this way, more students are willing to talk with them.

"They get to know us and they feel free to come talk to us," Sgt. Johnson said.

The program has already lead to one arrest.

Last week a man named Drew Bey was arrested by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. He was picked up on the university's campus.  Police say Bey also went by the name "Dope Man." According to an arrest report, when officers approached his car they smelled a strong odor. Police say they were told by students Bey was selling large amounts of marijuana on campus.

Sergeant Tim Johnson, SUPD, says walking the campus allows them to see, smell and hear - something they can't always do in a moving patrol car.

The new program started just a few months ago. The Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs says because there are more events happening on college campuses, nationally, they wanted to be proactive to crime and add another level of safety around campus.

"There is crime, everybody does not always abide by the rules. We want to make sure when that does happen, we're positioned to respond," said Brandon Dumas.

They hope that by making the officers more active and visible around the campus, students who hear or see anything suspicious will let them know.

"It's helped us to be out in the public, talking to the kids. As opposed to just being there when it's an emergency or something bad happens," said Sgt. Johnson.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.