|UW-Eau Claire||News Bureau|
|Schofield Hall 218|
|Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
MAILED: March 17, 1997|
EAU CLAIRE - When University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire freshman Neil Brauner decided to look for an on-campus job this fall, he knew he wouldn't be satisfied working in a desk job or food service position. He wanted to work in a job that would offer some excitement, he said.
In October a friend told him about new employment opportunities available with the Campus Watch Escort Service. The newly created service was in need of students to work with the walking escort service and provide a service similar to the Neighborhood Watch Program for the UW-Eau Claire campus.
Brauner, realizing this was the job for him, applied and was soon hired as a rove.
"Working for CWES gives me a chance to get out of my dorm and be outside; it's also interesting work," Brauner said.
Jace Smith, CWES director and residence hall director in Katherine Thomas Hall, said the student generated service fills a unusual niche on campus. Roves have reported a variety of crimes to campus police, pushed cars out of snowed-in parking lots, helped motorists contact auto repair businesses, and even have reported accidents and fires. In several cases, CWES employees have reported problems or recovered property which resulted in a savings or reduction of damage to university assets.
"The CWES utilizes indirect active intervention to report, observe and assist in keeping the campus safe," said Smith, who worked with a similar program while employed at Ohio State University. "Many incidents on campus may have been missed or gone undetected with out these students."
CWES, a program of the Safety and Security Task Force, operated on a trial basis during the 1996-97 school year and is currently under review by students and staff in the Housing and Residence Life Office to determine the need of continuing operations for 1997-98. Several agencies including Public Safety and Facilities Management have provided support and service to the CWES while the Housing and Residence Life has provided money for equipment, training and staff wages.
"Hall directors, UHC and the police have all been very supportive of CWES," Smith said. "CWES has a commitment to helping students, and police appreciate the extra eyes on campus."
CWES employs about 30 students in rove and supervisory positions and provides escorts for male and female students seven days a week. In pairs, roves walk the campus Sunday through Thursday from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and from 9 p.m. until 2:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Smith said. The service doesn't operate when the university is closed or the temperature is minus 10 degrees or colder.
Once a month, CWES surveys all exterior lighting in the main campus area and reports problems to Facilities Management. The service also provides extra surveillance of bicycle racks and parking lots. This surveillance, combined with a campus-wide bicycle registration program operated by the Safety and Security Task Force, are important crime prevention services, Smith said.
Sophomore Bob Stroess, a CWES supervisor and business major, said since beginning work for the service in the fall he has become more aware of the feelings of uncertainty that some students feel while walking alone.
"The job has taught me a lot about working with people and how to solve problems quickly," Stroess said. "It's also a good way to meet a variety of people."
Supervisors have a variety of individual responsibilities which include finance, promotion and planning for the service. Stroess is working to broaden the Safety and Security Task Force and recruit students for positions. He also spends time roving and working in the CWES dispatch center located in Towers Hall.
Because CWES employees have access to all of the residence halls and some sensitive information and are escorting community members, all staff members undergo a rigorous screening process and must pass two different record checks from law enforcement agencies, Smith said. Employees who pass through the initial screening process complete four to six hours of field training, four hours of classroom training, and must read and understand a manual which covers policy issues and more. Ongoing training teaches roves and supervisors many skills including self defense, crisis intervention, crowd control, sexual assault response and patrol techniques.
Members of the service have earned a reputation for professionalism and courtesy and employees have an opportunity to apply their work experience for service learning credit, Smith said.
"I am really proud of our student employees," Smith said. "They effectively deal with a variety of situations and are dedicated to their jobs."
Brauner and Stroess said they hope CWES will be approved by UHC and the Housing and Residence Life Staff for operation in the 1997-98 school year.
"CWES presence on campus deters crime and disruptive behavior," Brauner said. "With all of the incidents the service has reported, it would be difficult to deny CWES the support to continue."
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UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: March 27, 1997