Duke police officers talk safety, hand out treats

Lt. Shannan Tiffin disusses safety tips and hands out a cookie and Duke Police highlighter to first-year students. Tiffin was among DUPD officers taking part in the first "Tips n' Treats" sessions Monday.
October 19, 2010By Bryan Roth

As packs of students flowed into the East Campus Marketplace dining Monday night, they were greeted by uniformed Duke police officers.

“Hi there,” said David Williams, the crime prevention manager, “we just wanted to ask if you had any questions about safety or security at Duke.”

Williams, along with Chief John Dailey, Lt. Shannan Tiffin and Lt. Marshall Thompson, were part of the first of three “Tips n’ Treats” meet and greet events where Duke police officers shared safety tips, oversized cookies and other free giveaways.

At a table outside the entrance to the Marketplace’s dining hall, officers met with hundreds of students and a few employees, talking to them about safety at Duke while giving them wallet-sized emergency contact cards and highlighters with Duke Police contact information. Duke Dining Services provided sugar, chocolate chip and M&M cookies for officers to distribute to students who interacted with police.

Practically all the students who spoke with officers said they felt safe on campus, and many already had the Duke Police phone number programmed into their cell phone or Duke Police’s emergency contact card, said David Williams, crime prevention manager.

First year student Lexy Lattimore said she was glad to chat with Duke Police, saying it was important for her to see the officers have a presence among students. Her friend and fellow first-year, Katie Harper, agreed.

“This kind of outreach is important, especially after the recent robberies that happened off of West Campus,” Harper said. “I’m happy to see that the police are trying to get some face time with students.”

Student leaders encouraged their peers to check out each session. Duke Student Government President Mike Lefevre and Chris Brown, Duke Student Government’s vice president for athletics and campus affairs, both said that the sessions are an important way for students to establish relationships with Duke Police based on respect and mutual understanding.

Two other Tips n’ Treats sessions are planned this week: 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Devil’s Bistro on Central Campus and 11 a.m. to noon Thursday at the entrance to the Bryan Center from the Plaza on West Campus. During each gathering, police officers will be available to meet informally with students to discuss safety and various services and resources.

“We’re doing our part to make students feel safe,” said Williams, the crime prevention manager, “so it’s always good to hear straight from them that they feel the same way.”