Calls For More Ohio State University Police Officers After Study Exposes Shortage
Concerns of safety are front and center on the Ohio State University Campus, after a student was raped last week, and another robbed at gun-point late last year.
On a campus of more than 50,000 students, a recent study shows the number of police officers per students is the worst in the Big Ten. A ranking some at this school are certainly not proud of hearing.
"I'm upset because I think students have been upset with us," said OSU Undergraduate Student Government Vice President Josh Ahart.
A voice of concern by OSU students and a resolution passed by the undergraduate student government calling for more campus police.
"Safety is our number one student priority," said Ahart.
The resolution points to an "an internal staffing study calling for an additional 10 to 13 more officers."
So far, Fraternal Order of Police President Jason Pappas says none have been hired.
"Safety obviously is a concern, not just for the students, but for the officers also... we do not want tired officers making mistakes on the street. It's not good for themselves, for safety reasons, and it's not good for the university," said Pappas.
The FOP says the OSU police department is down about a dozen officers, which is nearly a quarter of their current staff. To put this in perspective, if Columbus police was down a quarter of their staff - they'd lose more than 450 of their officers.
"We take a lot of pride in OSU being #1 in a lot of areas. I would never had thought I'd seen the day when OSU was dead last in something in the Big Ten and they were ok with it," said Pappas.
Pappas said OSU has pulled its officers from patrolling University Hospital East, and is re-shuffling staff to make up for the shortage.
All of this, on the heels of a deal with Columbus Police, to allow OSU officers to patrol off campus.
"But if you're telling me you can't staff your own facilities, I don't understand why you're asking for additional territory," said Pappas.
For students, it all boils down to safety. "We have done everything on our end, so far. We've passed legislation. We've talked to administrators about it. We need to see some action," said Ahart.
OSU Police Chief Paul Denton responded in writing saying campus safety is his highest priority.
He says "a combination of police officers, security officers, emergency management personnel, technology and community engagement" is effective, as of now.