Students on Patrol

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A new service provides added security on campus and opportunities to build experience in law enforcement.

Who's the best person to help keep the campus safe at night? It could be you!

A program started last spring through Rowan's Department of Public Safety enlists students to patrol the campus during two shifts: 7 pm to midnight and 11 pm to 4 am. Their mission: providing extra sets of eyes and ears to assist the professionals.

"Most of their duties are passive," said Michael Funk, Rowan's chief security officer, of the student patrols. "The main part is to observe and report. If there's a health, safety or security issue, the students are trained to get help quick."

Funk said the Student Patrol, a paid internship program, serves double duty - students acquire professional, hands-on experience they can use to launch a career in law enforcement while providing an additional layer of protection to the Rowan community.

For the 2008-2009 school year, 12 Rowan students - most of them Law & Justice majors - have signed on for patrol duties. Before they can go on patrol each must complete about 30 hours of training in such areas as patrol concepts and techniques, radio protocol and rudimentary report writing. Students also receive basic first aid and CPR training as well as lessons on how to report incidents and in the use of military time.

While some recruits have no public safety experience, some are already fairly well trained from service in the National Guard, the Army reserves, a volunteer fire department or EMT squad.

"We also require them to complete an on-line course in incident command from the Department of Homeland Security," Funk said. "It's a rudimentary course but it gives them a certification for their resume and, if there's ever an incident on campus, they'll know how the system works, where they fit in and who calls the shots."

Funk, who supervises the Student Patrol, said he assigns periodic homework to his charges, has taken them on a tour of the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office Crime Scene Investigations unit and may soon take them on a tour of the county jail.

Jud Wilson, 21, a senior Law & Justice major from Hazlet Township, was among the first students to join the patrol in the spring and sees it as a steppingstone to a full-time position in law enforcement.

"It's something I've wanted since I was a kid," Wilson said. "You get to help people out, see something different every day and make a difference."

Brian Boyle, 22, a senior Law & Justice major from Pennsauken, has been a lifeguard for four years and has actually saved swimmers from drowning. Work with the Student Patrol bolsters what he's already done.

"I didn't have law enforcement experience and thought I'd really benefit from this," he said.

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