Letter to the Editor: BUPD chief addresses concern over student safety

Photo courtesy of butler.edu

I was driving back to campus from a meeting downtown last week, when I turned onto 30th Street, and saw a car with a young lady standing next to it on her cellphone.

Having noticed the “T” sticker on the car, I pulled over to see what was going on. She told me her car just died. Mid-sentence, a BUPD police car came up behind us.

The young lady had actually been on the line with BUPD asking them for help. When I arrived, she thought I was the help she had called for.

Whenever I see a Butler student my instinct is to put myself in the position of his or her parent. What would that parent want me to do?

I want all Butler students to feel the same way as this young lady – to feel like if they are in trouble, they can call BUPD for help anytime, anywhere.

The last few weeks at Butler have been some of the hardest of my almost three-year career on campus. We had eight students robbed at gunpoint inside a residence. Then, a group of students reported they heard gunfire near campus.

What made the last few weeks even more difficult was the level of distrust that students expressed toward BUPD in the wake of these events.

At BUPD, our number one concern is student safety. When students don’t feel safe on campus and do not trust BUPD, that is deeply troubling and means we have to work harder to rebuild those relationships.

Recent events highlighted the need for better communication. Our three modes of communication are:

  • Dawg Alert: When an event is currently occurring or is an imminent threat to the health and safety of the campus community. Dawg Alerts are issued immediately upon confirmation that the situation or emergency exists.
  • Timely Warning: When an event has already occurred, but still represents an ongoing and serious threat. Timely Warnings are issued as soon as the pertinent information is available.
  • Dawg Watch Advisory: To share information about an event that represents no threat to campus, and for sharing general safety information reminders.

We are currently evaluating the title for each to ensure the title alone communicates information to the reader.

I have or will meet with the following groups over the next few weeks: SGA senators, Greek organizations, student ambassadors, Ross Hall students, Faculty Senate, Staff Assembly and Parent Council. I will also be organizing “Coffee with a Cop” every few weeks where students can stop by and talk about anything. Through these efforts, I hope to better understand the issues that are most important to the campus community.

As a parent myself, I know how much your safety matters to your parents, and that is what BUPD tries to always have at the forefront of our minds.

My door is always open. I look forward to continuing the conversation.


John Conley

Chief of Public Safety

Phone: 317-940-8740

Email: jmconley@butler.edu


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