For the parents of this year’s roughly 1,700 first-year students, Duke Police Chief John Dailey has a message: he and his department are here to help.
In front of a crowd of hundreds of parents on campus during first-year orientation this week, Dailey gave an overview of the Duke University Police Department, its staff and how it functions to create safe campuses.
“Our main focus is to educate and provide a blanket of security so your kids can come to Duke and do all the things that make Duke great,” Dailey told the crowd gathered in Reynolds Theatre on Thursday. “We’re here all the time, just a phone call away.”
During his presentation, Dailey touched on various aspects of security on campus, from the DukeALERT emergency system to crime prevention efforts and how students can contact Duke Police, including a new two-way texting system. He also told parents about the size of the Duke Police force and how students can utilize Duke transportation to feel safe, from Duke buses to the Duke Vans.
“I thought it was important to hear about the smartphone app that shows location of buses, so my daughter can go from her residence hall directly to a bus,” said parent and Laguna Niguel, Calif.-resident Julie Koelliker, mentioning bus tracking program TransLoc. “It was also good to hear about the numbers of the force and that they offer nighttime security.”
In addition to personal safety, Dailey spoke about property theft, which he noted is the top crime committed on college campuses. He asked parents to reinforce to their students the importance of never leaving items unattended and to backup information in case something happens to property.
Sharyl Dawes, who came to Durham from Atlanta, said it was helpful and reassuring to hear about the breadth of services from Duke Police.
“It sounds like they work hard to protect our kids and keep the student population safe,” she said.
Throughout orientation, Duke Police officers have had a visible presence on campus, talking with new students and parents, answering questions and providing a variety of handouts with contact information.
“Your students are going to come here and have a great experience,” Dailey told parents. “We wouldn’t do this job unless we really cared about them.”