Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

University Police grill free hot dogs for campus community

Photo by Ana Bellamy

Students gathered in Village Park last Wednesday night for a police-led hot-dog cookout. The Downtown Safety Summit gathered together the Point Park University Police Department, the Downtown Police Department, police officers from Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne, and the University of Pittsburgh. The Point Park Health and Wellness Center was also in attendance. This safety fair was meant to spark conversations and build communications between students and local police departments, provide helpful resources and provide free food to all students.

Coincidentally, the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report was released Wednesday morning. This event was perfect timing for anyone on campus who had any questions regarding on-campus and off-campus crime statistics, crime reporting, mental health counseling, and fire safety education and statistics.

“These events give us the opportunity to meet those students on a little bit more intimate level. So they get to know us,” officer Tyler Frederick said. “They get to know what we are about, and they get to ask us questions if they have any.”

Interactions between the students and the police are infrequent because the police officers respond to calls around campus and patrol the area for any individuals or situations that could put students in danger. The police visibility on campus has grown since last semester, and police officers can be seen at the Point Park Library and the campus’s Village Park at night.

This event made police officers easily available to students.

Water bottles, frisbees, post-its, stress balls, coloring books, lanyards and rubber bracelets were among the many different freebies at the event. The Police stations brought a variety of educational leaflets and brochures that covered a large range of topics including “What to Do When Stopped By The Police,” tips on bicycle safety, information regarding the Medical Amnesty Law and behavioral health services and recruitment literature. The Point Park Police Department also provided drink test strips at their table, which can detect GHB and Ketamine in alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. These wallet-sized tests are super easy to use and are useful for any students who partake in parties, clubbing or even simple social gatherings. Putting drugs into drinks has become increasingly common on college campuses across the United States, so these test strips are a necessity for staying safe.

These cookouts happen occasionally, however, sergeant Matthew Mays hopes to host more events like these to build better relationships and trust with the students.

“This event was inspired by the National Night Out event that happens in the summer,” Mays said. “I wanted to bring that event into the fall and spring seasons because it felt like a good opportunity to build relationships with the students, help students relieve any tensions, and give them the platform to ask any questions.”

The Point Park Counseling and Wellness Center was there to provide additional resources for mental health to correlate with the other mental health resources that a few of the campus police had brought with them. Resolve was also in attendance in case any students were seeking help. Self-care and suicide prevention resources from the wellness center itself, in addition to resources from NAMI and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, could be found on the table. Collaborations between mental health organizations and police departments are important in lowering the number of behavioral health calls to 911.

 Some Point Park alumni were also in attendance. They came to raise awareness of the Homecoming event geared towards alumni and new students. Attendees were able to ask them questions about their own experiences at Point Park University and learn about potential career paths.


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