UAPD hosts safety forum

“Bridging the gap between students and the University of Akron Police was the issue on hand Wednesday night. Four officers from the UAPD, one Akron police officer and UA’s Police Chief Paul Callahan spoke to a group of students to help dismantle ideas about the police.”

Bridging the gap between students and the University of Akron Police was the issue on hand Wednesday night.

Four officers from the UAPD, one Akron police officer and UA’s Police Chief Paul Callahan spoke to a group of students to help dismantle ideas about the police.

Callahan addressed the crowd by talking about the area South of Exchange street pointing specifically to the high student population there. The community base is vastly eroding away and more students are occupying the residences there. With that increase has come a rapid increase in crime.

Callahan said that since May 2007 there have been 76 burglaries and 16 robberies in that vicinity alone. Twenty five of them happened in the month of August.

The reason? The start of the fall semester. He stated the area is considered the hunting ground because college students have everything robbers want.

To help deter crime in the area the university, along with the Akron Police department, has developed a task force. However, the force is only temporary.

Our goal is to make everyone at the university as safe as possible, Callahan told the crowd.

The officers in attendance gave the audience a chance to share their experiences with the local police departments. They hoped to learn what is going on from a student’s perspective.

In return, officers gave feedback and explained why they deal with situations the way they do. They said they do not always have the time to fill someone in on why they were stopped or pulled over. However, they said that students can come to the dispatch office located at 146 Hill St. to talk about the situation.

One officer in particular, Sgt. Chad Cunningham, was praised for his work with students. He said that he does not know what he does that helps him relate.

The way I do business is I try to follow the golden rule, Cunningham said. I try to treat everyone the way I would like to be treated.

Cunningham was quick to take the spotlight off of himself and back on to the department as a whole, saying things like, anything I can do in a positive light for our department or our university is what my job is.

Regardless, the goal of the night was to create interaction between the police and the students, Callahan said.

This is just the beginning of the process, Callahan said.