Nov 13, 2015
Members of the HSU community feel safe on campus and are pleased with the level of police presence, but feel the University Police Department could do a better job communicating its preparedness to handle emergency situations and the services the department offers, according to a UPD survey.
In a recent satisfaction survey administered by UPD and the California State University Chancellor’s Office, 9,722 surveys were distributed to students, faculty, administrators, and staff, and nearly 8 percent, or 761 users, responded. The survey covered the 2013-14 academic year. The questionnaire was administered as a 15-minute online survey and was developed by the CSU Chancellor’s Office. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. The responses are used by UPD to improve services.
“Administrative Affairs division is using online surveys to ascertain customer satisfaction”, Joyce Lopes, Vice President, shared. “Results will be shared as the surveys are completed and the data compiled.”
The survey asked users to rate police services, such as foot patrols and ease of reporting crimes, using a range of “very dissatisfied,” to “very satisfied.” Users also had the option to select “Don’t know N/A.” In another section, users were asked to rate the importance of police services with responses ranging from “not at all important,” to “extremely important.” Again, users could opt to select “Don’t know N/A” in this section. The survey also posed a series of statements to respondents, such as “University Police serve an essential role on my campus” and asked respondents to either agree or disagree.
“This survey provided us with a very useful tool to measure our performance and to gauge the feelings of those we serve,” says Donn Peterson, Chief of University Police. “I enjoy reading the compliments and I think they are an endorsement of the dedication and passion the men and women of the university police department have for the HSU community. However, most beneficial to me were those constructive criticisms. Those comments and observations really help us to see where we fall short and, therefore, need to improve.”
Respondents had the chance to provide short answers to the questions, “Please tell us what you appreciate the most or what is working well for you regarding our services,” and “Please describe any difficulties you have had with any aspect of our services.” Users were also asked to provide suggestions for improvement to police services. Respondents commented that officers and dispatchers both could be more patient with people who call in with “routine” issues, such as being locked out of a building or needing vehicle assistance.
Other findings include: – Respondents were generally pleased with the presence of uniformed police personnel patrolling the university on foot or in vehicles with 55 percent reporting they were satisfied or very satisfied.
- 60 percent indicated they did not know about UPD presentations on preventing crime.
- Nearly 70 percent did not know about the department’s evening escort services. However, more than 30 percent of respondents rated evening police escort services as extremely important.
- More than 50 percent of respondents indicated that timeliness of police services is very important to them.
- More than 65 percent of answers indicated people see University Police providing an essential role on campus.
- 44 percent of answers indicated people agree that University Police are concerned with assisting callers when they report problems to the department.
The short answer section revealed mixed feelings toward UPD services and some confusion about what the department can do. Several people wrote that UPD was very sensitive to diversity issues, and several responses claimed the opposite—that UPD needs to be more sensitive when dealing with different populations. Commenters also mentioned the UPD website needs updating, policies regarding skating and bicycle traffic safety are confusing and mentioned a perceived lack of respect or concern for people who are locked out of buildings or need basic vehicle assistance.
Several respondents also mentioned confusion after seeing UPD officers assisting the Arcata Police Department away from campus. According to the department’s website, due to the number of students, staff, and faculty living in Arcata, UPD often works with Arcata police to ensure the safety of the community. The department website also includes a frequently asked questions section, police tips, and more and has been updated based in part on feedback received from this survey.
For more information, visit humbodlt.edu/police.