For graduating criminal justice majors Fabrice Reid and John Thomas, contributing to the safety of their fellow students through the Wildcat Prowler Bike Patrol Team has been one of their most memorable experiences at FVSU. They regularly traverse the campus looking to help provide security for their peers, along with other work-study students, including brothers Korbian and Kionnis Bell from College Park, GA, who are following the footsteps of their brother Christopher, who also participated in the program here. From identifying persons who should not be on campus to helping diffuse problematic situations, they are extra eyes and hands for Campus Police and Safety.
“We needed students to really get involved with Campus Police and Safety, to see how it works and the ins and outs of the criminal justice system,” said Fabrice. “We’re learning about the criminal justice system on top of the student job,” he said.
He notes that when they first began, the students were mainly involved in training and completing paperwork, but eventually moved to assistance. Often, for example, they will get called to walk a student or faculty member to their car after dark. If they see something out of the ordinary, they contact the Campus Police and Safety officers. They stay connected to the officers through radios.
Bell, Bell, Thomas, and Reid believe that students can actually deescalate a situation before the police are needed. They have prevented fights, convinced students to stop questionable behavior, and worked to become trusted members of the community. According to Reid, students see them as peers just trying to make the situation better, as opposed to police who can sometimes be more intimidating. This allows them to calm things down before they get out of hand. They also receive tips from concerned students which they pass on to Campus Police and Safety. Some people feel comfortable talking to them just because they are students, they contend.
The Bicycle Patrol was an initiative of Campus Police and Safety under the leadership of Chief Kenneth Morgan, Sr., who is preparing for a new role reshaping the institution’s emergency management preparedness. He launched the program as part of the president’s office’s efforts to enhance student engagement with regards to the police department.
“As Chief, I’m extremely proud of this program and the student officers who pride themselves in taking care of their University and the visitors, students, faculty and staff that frequent the University every day,” said Chief Morgan.
The Patrol’s new uniforms have made them more visible and more effective, according to the team. It has allowed them to be noticed and engage with other students quickly.
“The most important thing we’ve done this semester is outreach,” said Fabrice. “If you really need help, even though we are not certified officers, we’ll get you that help.”
The Patrol is becoming more popular as they become more visible.
“Especially if you’re a criminal justice major, you would want to work in your field,” said Kionnis. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Main image caption: (left to right) Fabrice Reid , John Thomas, Chief Kenneth Morgan, Sr., and Kionnis Bell. Not pictured is Korbian Bell.