September 21, 2005

Police to expand foot patrols – on Saluki Express

by Pete Rosenbery

saluki patrol

Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Officers with Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Public Safety will soon be expanding their foot patrols – by taking the bus.

Uniformed police will periodically ride the Saluki Express mass transit system as an extension of their regular foot patrol duties.

Public safety Director Todd D. Sigler emphasized the move is not in response to a particular incident or any problems along the bus routes. He sees the approach as a “wonderful opportunity” for officers to interact with more people.

“It’s a creative opportunity for the officers to interact with the public in somewhat of a unique setting and address any safety issues or concerns that riders may have,” he said.

Officers will ride the buses as shifts allow, Sigler said.

SIUC police Sgt. Kenneth W. Sneed originated the idea several months ago. The proposal was well received by Beck Bus Transportation Corp. and Saluki Express officials on campus and “fell right into what we continue to do to try to serve the community,” Sneed said. Officers generally participate in foot patrols several times a day when possible, he said.

Jeffrey M. Duke, deputy director of the SIUC Student Center, supports the idea.

“Obviously we like that. It gives us a measure of security when people see a uniformed officer on there,” he said.

Saluki Express offers 11 routes, including late night and weekend routes. There is also free shuttle service from the Arena parking lots to points around campus every 20 minutes.

Student fees, fare revenues and bus pass sales fund the service. Students ride for free with a valid ID.

Promoting campus safety is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

(Caption: Getting on Board – Christopher Scott Miller, a police officer with Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Public Safety, boards a Saluki Express mass transit system bus. The extension of foot patrols is a way for officers to enhance community policing efforts.)

Photo by Jeff Garner