The Maneater

Unsatisfactory officer-student ratio prompts growing campus police force

MU has the smallest campus police force in the SEC and the Big 12, MUPD Maj. Brian Weimer said.

An MUPD Officer pulls over a student driving through the parking lot of the Mizzou Student Center on Feb. 2.

MU Police Department will increase its officers by 25 percent and its dispatchers by 50 percent over the next three years. Interim Chancellor Hank Foley announced the change Jan. 27 in his State of the University address.

The reason for this change comes from a gradual increase in MU’s population without a matching environment, MUPD Maj. Brian Weimer said. According to MU News Bureau, from August 2013 to August 2015, total enrollment has increased 2.8 percent, from 34,111 students to 35,050 students.

However, MU has seen a decline in enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year.

Foley and Weimer said they saw MU needed more police compared to other universities of similar size.

MU has the smallest campus police force in the Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 Conference, Weimer said. The deciding statistic was “officers per thousand,” a measurement often used to gauge police staffing in Columbia.

Foley cited “tired” officers as another reason for needing the increase in police.

According to a report issued by the National Center for Campus Public Safety, there is no defined student-to-officer ratio, although many universities set their own accepted ratio.

“There is no general correlation between student numbers and Campus Public Safety Departments staffing levels, other than a general average increase in both overall CPSD staffing levels and officer numbers as student population increases,” the report stated.

The money necessary to fund such a change will come from a wide variety of departments and will not hit any single entity, Foley said.

“We are recycling money,” Foley said.

While Weimer said there has been no increase in crime at MU, Foley said he hopes the increase of MUPD will ease the worries of parents concerned about the safety of their children.

“It’s been well said that the university is committed to safety and will show how dedicated the university is to programming and investing,” Weimer said.

Edited by Hailey Stolze | hstolze@themaneater.com

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