Whether you live in the Milwaukee area or outside of our region, many of you likely heard of the civil unrest this past weekend, following a Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) shooting of an armed suspect on the north side. I want to assure you that our officers have been on high alert and we are working with MPD leadership to closely monitor developing information. We have brought in additional officers and are projecting a visible presence both on campus and in our near campus neighborhood.
While we advised members of the Marquette community to remain indoors last night as a precaution, all university departments are open as normal this morning. We encourage everyone on our campus to attend a prayer for peace at 12:30 p.m. today.
As we approach move-in day and the exciting year ahead, we want you all to know how seriously we take the immense responsibility of keeping your sons and daughters safe. I often hear President Lovell say that as soon as students step foot on our campus, they become part of our Marquette family. I emphasize this to every one of our officers.
For those of you who are new to Marquette, you may not know that we became a commissioned police department a little more than a year ago. Why is that important? We saw an immediate impact in crime reduction. Just six months after MU Public Safety became the Marquette University Police Department, we saw a 38% reduction in robberies and a 52% reduction in batteries. Being a commissioned police department also gives us much improved access to real-time information sharing among other agencies allowing us to be more proactive.
We have built an extensive safety infrastructure throughout campus and in the near off-campus neighborhood, which includes more than 700 cameras, over 450 blue light phones, a state-of-the-art command information center and a nationally recognized student safety program. We highly encourage you to make sure your student has downloaded our campus safety app, which is available to both iOS and Android users. We also strongly urge students to use the university's LIMO van service if traveling alone at night. Marquette offers LIMO escort vans every day of the week from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.
I hope you find it comforting to know that all of our officers have completed the state-mandated 520 hours of training, as well as a psychological review, medical evaluation and drug test. Additionally, consistent with our mission, our officers have undergone intensive training sessions in the areas of homeless outreach, crisis intervention, and fair and impartial police training.
While our police department is staffed 365 days a year, 24 hours a day by highly trained professionals, we know that crimes do happen in urban areas. Whenever there is a threat to campus, we immediately text all students, staff and faculty. I want to emphasize that we send these texts only in emergency situations to keep our community alert — not during situations when there is not a threat to the community.
We will share communications with our Parents Facebook group as a secondary resource to inform the group if an event has gained significant attention and also if there is misinformation that may be spreading. As you know, misinformation can spread quickly in today's world.
As a parent myself, I know there is nothing more important than the well-being of my children. Please know that we feel the same way about yours.
Marquette University Police Department