UNL Community Service Officers wearing new uniforms to avoid intimidating students
UNLPD's chief says some felt they were overzealous in trying to enforce violations
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Community Service Officers (CSOs) are donning new outfits starting this semester so students aren’t intimidated.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department reviewed a third-party assessment that asked students about their feelings about safety on campus.
UNLPD chief Hassan Ramzah stated, “Some students felt that police or CSOs were overzealous in trying to enforce violations in residence halls, or that we were basically waiting to catch students in a ‘gotcha’ moment. That’s not our purpose for being there. Our overall goal is ensuring safety and making sure our students in residence halls live in a safe and protected environment.”
This lead Ramzah to implement a new uniform for the CSOs for the first time since 2011. Community Service Officers on campus will now be wearing red Nebraska polos and khakis instead of the previous grey shirt and black pants. Ramzah hopes this change will help reassure students that they are there to build trust and make them feel protected.
“We recognize that residence halls are homes for students, and whether perception or reality, no one wants to come home every day and see police at their front door, not everyone feels comfortable in that setting,” said Ramzah. “We want students to feel comfortable and safe around our public safety personnel. So as a department, we want to do what we can to make sure that we’re contributing to an environment where students can be successful.”
CSOs are working to build a positive working relationship with students in order to be a trustworthy source students can rely on.