Guest column: A letter from Wichita State Police Chief Rodney Clark



Rodney Clark, chief of the Wichita State University Police Department

Welcome back, everyone, for another semester at Wichita State University!

For all of our first-time students and their families, welcome to your college experience.  My name is Rodney Clark and I am the chief of police here at WSU. I hope you find your time here at WSU enjoyable. My job is to make all feel safe and welcome at our university.

Wichita State University has a full-service police department, staffed with officers that receive the same training as any police officer in the state of Kansas. Last year, Wichita State was in the top 20 schools in the nation for campus safety and we have only improved through everyone’s efforts.

The Student Government Association recognized WSUPD as being an outstanding campus partner and commended the department for its work during the spring 2020 semester.

Our students’ safety is our number-one priority. We operate the police department under the philosophy called Caring and Compassionate Policing or what I refer to as C2 Policing. This simply means our number one goal is to make you feel comfortable and cared for here at WSU.

I want all new and returning students to feel safe and to please approach any of our officers with questions you may have or to report anything you think may require attention from a police officer. The department offers a program of safety escorts to class, to your car or anywhere on campus if you feel uncomfortable with someone or with a situation.

Think about safety in all you do. It is smart, when possible, to travel with a friend off campus and to let others know where you are going. There is safety in numbers, and simple things like looking around your environment and not walking while looking at your phone constantly helps convey the message to others that you are looking out for yourself and those around you.

There are several features on campus for your safety. Any blue light on top of a pole on campus marks a police call box. If you find yourself out of battery power or without your phone, you may use these phones to get in direct contact with a police dispatcher.

You can also save this number, (316) 978-3450, on your phone for a direct line to police dispatch. I also recommend the “Rave Guardian” app on your smartphone as a safety feature. Some of the features of this app allow you to share your location with friends and set reminders to check in with the people you choose.

The Shocker Alert System is a messaging system the police department and the university use to send out a range of alerts, such as those related to weather and any type of criminal or emergency situation that may exist on or near campus. It is important to stay aware of these messages as well.

Finally, so much has changed in the world in just the last 4-5 months.  COVID 19 has made all landscapes different in the way we interact and social unrest in our country has become a reality in United States culture. I can assure you all of your first amendment and constitutional rights are protected here at Wichita State University.

Simultaneously as a law enforcement officer, I have the solemn duty of upholding all United States and Kansas laws. I will do my part, and please help me if you see anything here at all that you feel needs brought to my attention.     

As police chief, I can be found most days in my office inside the police station if you should have an idea or just want to talk. I and all of my officers have years of experience dealing with any questions or situations you might have, so do not be hesitant to come by and see us.

Have a great semester and year.