Student faith in security wavers

by Brandon Ortale

Recent assaults in Buxton Park have turned attention toward Simpson’s security staff and not everyone is pleased with what they see.

“I think Simpson security needs to get its act together,” sophomore Justin Gilkerson said.

According to Director of Security Chris Frerichs, Simpson is looking for ways to improve its security, but that’s not due to any recent events.

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve through reevaluations of scenarios, and looking at options in technology if it can fit into campus,” Frerichs said.

One way Frerichs would like to improve security is to increase programs informing students about safety. He’d also like to get the community around Simpson more involved – such as in reporting suspicious activity and keeping an eye on campus.

Frerichs emphasized that security at Simpson is not an individual effort, but is based on teamwork.

There are three full-time and two part-time staff members as well as 12 students who work in security, and they all work closely with the Indianola Police Department.

Security patrols residence halls and buildings and responds to a variety of requests. The department’s main responsibility is to promote and maintain a safe environment for everyone on campus whether they’re participating in academics or extra-curricular activities.

At night, security patrols campus, locks buildings, responds to calls and escorts people when needed. Frerichs said during the day security reviews any activity from the evening, does any necessary follow-ups, checks parking and answers many questions.

“We sometimes feel like we are the information center,” Frerichs said.

Junior David Kim said he and the other security staff provide anyone, from visitors to students and professors, any assistance they need on campus related to security issues. He added that they all work to ensure safety for the whole campus.

“The job improves your communication skills, customer service skills and helps you become more aware and observant,” Kim said.

Senior Andrew Mitchell has been on the security staff for three years.

“The job isn’t bad,” Mitchell said. “It is important to me to have a campus where people feel safe, and if the students feel safe while I am working then I guess I’m doing my job.”

Some students think Simpson’s security still has improvements to make.

“They received a call from Picken saying cars were being vandalized and it took them half an hour to get there,” Gilkerson said.

Gilkerson’s windshield was bashed in, and he would like to see security respond faster to reports on campus.

“In order to improve they need to become more prompt in answering calls and work on taking care of important issues, not petty ones,” Gilkerson said.

Frerichs said addressing the simple things that Simpson sometimes struggles with would be a good start in order to keep Simpson a safe place.

Frerichs said these simple things include: leaving car doors unlocked, giving out room combinations, propping doors and sharing too much information on Facebook.