Increase In Campus Police Reflects Students’ Concerns About Safety

Image courtesy of DVC website.

Image courtesy of DVC website.

Kamilly Ferreira, Staff

A heightened presence of security on campus has been noticeable since Diablo Valley College reopened for in-person classes last month. That’s because, according to Police Lieutenant Kathryn McDonald, the number of police aides hired over the last several semesters has grown the staff from eight to 10, “which provides us a lot of assistance.”

Now, McDonald said, campus police “are here all day and night,” available to help any student who doesn’t feel safe walking to their classroom or to their car after dark.

The increase in security is intended to relieve the fears of people like Ana Huerta, a 19-year-old student majoring in sociology, who said she felt concerns in the past about attending night classes at DVC.

“I feel safe on campus during the day, but as a woman, I don’t feel safe walking on campus at night because it’s very lonely and dark,” Huerta said.

Monalisa Rodrigues is both a DVC police aide and student – a dual role she says gives her multiple perspectives on the importance of campus safety.

“I have a duty, and I can’t be afraid to fulfill my role,” Rodrigues said, but “as a woman, I feel more brave because I need to re-enforce the security of other girls, and that comes in first place.”
Police Lieut. McDonald said the school’s police department strives to remind people of some basic steps they can take to prevent crime incidents from occurring – such as walking in groups, and not leaving personal items unattended.

“It’s getting that message across so we can all work together,” said McDonald. “That is one of the biggest challenges for us: to help us help you.”

This semester, like in previous ones, campus police have worked with the student union to put on a safety presentation as part of a brown bag lecture series. The workshop will happen Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. on Zoom.

Additionally, a safety tab on the DVC website provides an explanation of the school’s Safety Committee, which has been tasked with creating a safety communication plan to regularly inform people on campus about safety-related issues.

The committee helps to raise awareness about the school’s safety preparedness program, provides forum information, and also disseminates safety information relating to training opportunities.

“Safety should be everyone’s responsibility,” said Huerta. “We all need to be aware and not take the campus police for granted.”