Beginning today, University Police (UP) will be implementing changes to both its dispatch operations and office hours.
Dispatch services and the UP front desk will now be staffed from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Mondays and 7 a.m. until midnight Tuesday to Sunday.
Previously, these services were staffed 24 hours per day and seven days per week. University Police Chief Leo Mioduszewski said the hours changes are intended to increase efficiency. The changes also come after UP cut a sergeant position earlier this year.
“We’re trying to be as efficient as we can,” Mioduszewski said. “Over the wee hours of the morning, our call load goes way down.”
Mioduszewski also noted that the likelihood of students coming in during closed-hours to conduct normal business is small anyway.
“In terms of the office, if students want to come in and do business, like most police departments, we’re going to have certain hours,” he said.
The changes will not affect patrol officers, as UP remains fully staffed with sworn officers.
Marketing junior and current student dispatcher Chelsi Zerod echoed Mioduszewski in saying that changes should go over smoothly with students.
“For students, it will take some getting used to,” she said. “They will have to get visitor permits before the office closes, and outside of office hours when calling University Police, they will get a recording that will direct them where to call for different situations.”
When there is no campus dispatcher on duty, SVSU will be covered by Saginaw County Central Dispatch. In the event of a 9-1-1 call coming from SVSU, Saginaw County Central Dispatch will continue to coordinate with University Police and other first responders, a system that has been in place for years.
“It’s not like we’re going to be losing 9-1-1 calls,” Mioduszewski said. “They automatically go down to Central Dispatch along with our emergency blue lights around campus. So, nothing is going to change there; there’s really no threat of missing a 9-1-1 emergency call.”
Recently, University Police also had a sergeant cut, which Mioduszewski said was also due to increasing efficiency. Since the cut, that work is being delegated throughout the office, including some falling on Mioduszewski.
“A lot of his duties were in the office, administrative type duties,” Mioduszewski said. “Now, we’ve split up those duties. Myself, I’ve taken some of those over, and our other sergeant has taken some, so we’re kind of sharing those duties. The bottom line is, it does come down to efficiency.”
Dispatchers Lauren Zyrowski and Heidi Killingbeck also recently left the university after being accepted into police academies, marking good timing for such a transition.
A call box will soon be installed outside of the University Police building. Calls will be routed to Saginaw County Central Dispatch when the building is closed.
Additionally, calls to the SVSU dispatch number (989-964-4141) during hours in which there is no dispatcher or front desk staff will be routed to the non-emergency number for Central Dispatch.
At that point, callers will be given a list of possible directions, one of which being to speak with an SVSU officer.
“We’re going to have a phone tree basically,” Mioduszewski said. “Obviously, if it’s an emergency, then you’re going to dial 9-1-1 and we’re going to respond like we always have in the past. If you need to talk to an officer in a non-emergency situation, all you have to do is call our office number, and it will tell you to push 1, and that way, you can talk to the dispatcher and have an officer stop by your residence hall or wherever you happen to be.”
While the changes may cause some initial concern for students, University Police staff is certain that such changes will not sacrifice student safety.
“The only thing that’s going to be different is that you can’t walk in and talk to somebody here at the office during certain times,” Mioduszewski said. “There aren’t going to be any major changes. We’re still going to have the same amount of police officers working, so safety is not going to be an issue.”