The Wake Forest University Police Department (WFUPD) aims to make campus a little safer with a new initiative they are creating: the Deacon Student Patrol.
“What it’s there for is to help students get a better understanding of what it’s like to be working for the police department,” said Derri Stormer, major of patrol services for WFUPD. “In addition to that, they will assist us in being extra eyes and ears for us. If they see something that we might need to be alerted to, they can call it in, because they’ll have radios that will be the same radios the officers carry.”
According to Stormer, the students that participate in the program will also be able to help WFUPD with basic duties such as locking up buildings.
The program is still in the planning phase, so many details have not yet been decided, but students on the Deacon Student Patrol will undergo training similar in many ways that police officers with WFUPD must go through.
“They’ll have different bias training just like officers do,” Stormer said. “One of the things we definitely need students to understand is that officers are held to a higher standard than the average person. The same thing would apply to them.”
Stormer said that she hopes the program may spark an interest in the criminal justice system, but they are looking for students of all majors, not just those planning on pursuing a career as a police officer.
“We’re open to all majors,” Stormer said. “I think with law enforcement anyone can do it. We’re not going to specifically target one group. We want all students to be involved, anyone that has any interest.”
Stormer came from East Carolina University where a student patrol is already developed.
She said that her experience there helped make the idea a reality.
“I came from an institution where it was already developed,” Stormer said. “I think the university was already interested in it, but it just hadn’t come to fruition yet.”
Stormer said that she thinks the program will be a good way for students to interact with the police, and it will be a good addition to their résumés.
“I think it will be a good reference for them,” Stormer said. “One of the things I noted from my previous institution with students there is that it doesn’t hurt to have that reference on your résumé to say ‘hey, I worked for a police department.’ It’s usually viewed very positively, because of the background you’ll have to go through to work here.”