Jan. 19, 2011
The Shawnee State University Board of Trustees authorized the commissioning of eligible SSU security officers, as part of preliminary plans to expand the SSU Security Department to a university police department.
Commissioned officers receive specific training that gives them additional power and duty and allows them to serve as law enforcement agents.
"This is an important step for us," Dr. Rita Rice Morris, SSU President, said. "Security of our campus is a priority for us – and has been for many years. During the last three years, with our continued growth and increasing student needs, we have taken several steps in the area of security including bringing security operations in-house, developing and enhancing our mass notification systems, enhancing the role and responsibilities of our emergency response team, and updating our safety and security data collection methods to better evaluate our needs and effectiveness. As we transition to a police department, having commissioned officers already on staff will be critical."
Morris said furthermore SSU commissioned officers will have no enforcement powers until standard operating procedures are developed and approved.
"We are still in the preliminary stages of our plan," she explained, "but we want to take the necessary steps to prepare."
During the meeting, the SSU Board of Trustees also approved the creation of a Dean of Students position and a new Human Resources position. The Board also conferred the title of Professor Emeritus on Dr. John Lorentz, Department of Social Sciences, and Gary Gemmer, Department of Natural Sciences.