By AUSTIN LAGESSE, News3 Reporter
MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS 3) – Many may think that Western Illinois University’s Office of Public safety only encompasses the typical police response. However, they do much more than just respond to emergencies and give out tickets.
There are a wide array of programs under the OPS umbrella to help make campus safer.
For those concerned about their safety when they have to walk across campus at night, the student walk patrol is there to help escort students where they need to go safely within campus boundaries.
In addition, the blue light system around campus allows students to speak directly to an officer if there is an emergency or a situation arises.
“So the blue lights on campus, you push the button and it goes right to my police radio over here,” OPS Director Sgt. Derek Watts. “It’s going to come across on my scanner and tell me where the alarm is, and an officer will start rolling that way to respond to the alert.”
For those needing medical assistance, Western EMS is a student-run emergency response system which OPS operates that helps to provide free emergency medical services on campus.
“If somebody needs something checked out, instead of calling an ambulance or going to the doctor, WEMS can come,” Watts said. “And if it’s a medical emergency, we’ll respond with a lifeguard ambulance and the Macomb fire department.”
OPS can also assist with car trouble as well, with their parking services division responding to common problems. Watts said they’ll come air up your flat tire, they’ll take you to the gas station to get gas with a gas can.
“They’ll do jumpstarts, they’ll do unlocks and all of these are free of charge as long as you’re on campus proper,” he said. “Unfortunately, there is a no-compete clause, so we can’t do them outside of campus.”
OPS is available 24/7 and they are located in Mowbray Hall. For OPS services or response, call 309-298-1949