The University of Illinois Police Department is here to keep you safe, and it provides a number of different services that can help you while you are on campus. This month, we’re speaking with Executive Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Craig Stone to talk about what the police department does, and how you can ask for help if you ever need it.
Q: What services does the university police department provide to keep the campus community safe?
Chief Stone: We provide many of the services that any other police department provides. We offer 24/7 police patrol of campus, emergency response, an investigations office which helps to solve crimes, and crime prevention services to keep crime from happening. In addition to police officers, we have security guards assigned to various places on campus, like University Housing, libraries and recreation facilities. We also provide a few services uniquely tailored to a college campus. For example, we can send police officers to provide training to students, faculty and staff on a number of different topics like alcohol safety, office safety, and the safest ways to get around campus. We also offer a very popular self-defense course and SafeWalks, which is a free walking escort service provided by trained Student Patrol officers who can help you walk across campus safely at night. All of these programs are designed with one thing in mind: To keep you safe during your time on campus.
Q: When should I ask the police department for help?
Chief Stone: You should call us any time you feel unsafe, or if you are concerned about suspicious activity. That could be because you feel threatened that someone might hurt you, or someone you know may be struggling with some mental health issues and you are concerned that person will harm themselves. We can also help if your property has been stolen, or if you think you may have been the victim of a scam. If we cannot help you ourselves, we can connect you with someone who can. Don’t ever worry about being a bother, because that is what we’re here for.
Q: How can I contact the police department?
Chief Stone: The best way to call for help during any emergency is by dialing 9-1-1. This will connect you with a dispatcher, who will ask you some basic questions about what kind of help you need and where you are. It is OK if you don’t have all the answers to the dispatcher’s questions. Just stay calm, and they will send help as soon as possible. You can also use any of the blue light emergency phones on campus. In a non-emergency situation or if you would like to request a SafeWalks escort, you can reach the police department at 217-333-1216. If you’re not sure whether your situation is an emergency or not, it is best to dial 9-1-1.
Q: Will I get in trouble for calling the police in an emergency?
Chief Stone: It is always a good idea to call, and you will not get in trouble. The university’s Medical Amnesty and Good Samaritan procedures and Illinois state law provides protections for people calling 9-1-1. You will never get in trouble for making a good faith effort to ask for help for yourself or another person.
Q: How can I get more information?
Chief Stone: More information about the police department is available online at police.illinois.edu, or on our social media pages like Twitter (@UIPD), Facebook (@uipolice) and Instagram (@uipolice). And don’t hesitate to call our non-emergency number or ask an officer on the street if you ever have questions. We are always happy to speak with you.