Talk to a WSU police officer and you might get a prize


Rachel Rudisill

Officer Zachary Hendrich meets Greg Heiman on Oct. 19 inside the RSC. Heiman stopped to interact with Hendrich in return for a reward token.

The next time you talk to a Wichita State police officer, you might be rewarded.

A WSUPD program rewards students who interact with officers. Students can receive a WSUPD poker chip that can be exchanged for free items at a number of on-campus locations. 

“The idea behind this is to have positive interactions with the police department and, you know, it’s not just students. We do this, the same thing, for faculty, staff and even visitors at the university,” Captain Kyle Garwood said.

The chips can be exchanged at Panda Express, Chick-fil-A, Freddy’s, Shocker Store, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Shocker Sports Grill and Lanes and Fairmount Coffee. 

All officers carry around the poker chips with them as they go about their shift. Garwood said since the program began in 2020, WSUPD has probably handed out up to 3,000 of the chips. 

People can either ask for a chip or the officer can give them a chip voluntarily. 

“We want community members to know that not every interaction with police officers has to be a bad one,” Garwood said. “Actually, no interaction has to be a bad one.”

Garwood said it’s all about relationships.

“I really would encourage the community to approach an officer to start a good dialogue with them,” Garwood said. “Reward sounds a bit like a transactional interaction, and we don’t want it to be transactional.”

Garwood said he hopes conversations with officers will lead to students feeling comfortable sharing their safety concerns.

“We always have room for improvement, and it’s hard to hear the hard thing,” he said. “Hopefully, this breaks down that barrier.”