CHAMPAIGN, Ill. May 8 2022 Unarmed community service officers (CSO) will soon be helping with non-emergency incidents in the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign campus area.
The University of Illinois Police Department is looking to hire people to fill the role to handle less serious calls.
“CSOs will be a great complement to our existing police staffing and enhance our overall service to the campus community,” said Executive Director of Public Safety and University Police Chief Alice Cary. “We want to concentrate our sworn officers’ time on critical safety issues, and CSOs are a creative alternative to refocus some of those resources.”
While the CSOs will be helping police they will not actually be police officers. They will not replace the current force on emergency calls and crimes in progress.
Some of the calls the CSOs would respond to would be those for minor theft, lost property, vandalism, lockouts, and other quality of life issues.
“This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to get early experience in a law enforcement setting, or just for people excited about helping their fellow community members,” Cary said. “We are excited about this new initiative and the chance to bolster our service throughout the Campustown area.”
UIPD said they are looking to hire four of these new officers for the upcoming school year.
“We are hearing generally in the national conversation right now on police reform right now that a lot of people think there is room for an unarmed response to these low level calls,” said Senior Director of Strategic Communications Pat Wade.
Wade said that officers will not be put in positions where there is potential danger.
“It frees up our sworn police officers to be more proactive, be out there on the streets not back here filing paperwork for low priority stuff,” said Wade.
The plan would have at least on security officer on duty at a time, with the plan to have it up an running when students return in the fall.
“We will be looking into hiring the next couple of months and then getting those people trained up and have them ready to go by the beginning of the fall semester,” said Wade.