WKUPD emphasizes weapon safety

Shantel-Ann Pettway

Many universities have protocols on gun control and WKU is no exception. WKU has a weapons code of conduct that explicitly states that firearms, explosives or other objects displayed in a menacing or threatening manner on campus are prohibited. 

The WKU Police Department will confiscate any weapon that isn’t authorized. 

Although the rules are defined, there have still been gun controversies on and around WKU’s campus.

In late August, Bowling Green junior Spencer Renfro was shot off campus in a reported burglary.

In April, a then-WKU student pulled a gun on another person outside of the Bates-Runner Hall Subway.

Last year, a WKU student, Larry Thomas, died after being shot off campus at an apartment complex. 

WKUPD has programs that attempt to keep students, faculty and visitors safe. 

Emergency phones installed throughout WKU’s campus are one of those safety measures. 

Capt. Dominic Ossello of WKUPD said the phones can be used to report suspicious activity or if anyone feels unsafe.

“The emergency phones that you see all over campus are our mini-helpers,” Ossello said.

 He said all of the calls are taken seriously.

“All calls are responded to, even if it is a false alarm,” Ossello said. “Our explorers and officers will always check out the scene.” 

WKU recently received an accreditation for its efforts in safety. On July 30, WKU was recognized as a Safe Community by the National Safety Council. 

One of the methods WKU employed to receive this accreditation is the Student Government Association Campus Safety Walk, Ossello said. 

WKUPD, along with SGA, checks the campus twice a year for areas that may be considered unsafe. 

“We don’t work alone. All of campus’ organizations work together to get light in dark places and safer cross walks,” Ossello said.

WKUPD also offers an escort service for on-campus use only. The escorts are sent to accompany students, staff or faculty that may feel uncomfortable walking on campus alone. The services are offered from dusk till dawn. 

“They are always strolling around campus checking to make sure everyone is safe — I love it,” Richmond sophomore Morgan Harris said.  

Ossello said communicating with police is a crucial part of safety. 

“Never hesitate to contact a WKU police officer,” he said.  “It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”