Update: My Frustration with the Department of Public Safety

Sarah Manderbach ‘22, Associate Opinion Editor

Last week I wrote about my frustrations with the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which included many scenarios that me and my friends had undergone with DPS and how we were left disappointed, aggravated, or both. For me as a writer, the piece was a means of catharsis for me. Writing has always been a way for me to get out how I feel and a way for me to express my emotions that I may not be able to do otherwise. Regardless, it didn’t relieve the stress of having the article published and potential backlash that could come from it since DPS is a huge institution on campus.

Not even a few hours into the paper being published, Dee Danser, the head of DPS, reached out to me via email. Through her email, she expressed concern for these situations and wanted to do what she could to make amends for all that had been done. Dee had wanted to conduct minor investigations into what had occurred and who was behind them, as well as meet with me in person to get input on how to improve DPS.

This was a huge shock for me. Out of all the responses I could have gotten, this was the one I least expected. I sent her an email back to schedule a meeting, which she was very quick to respond to. 

At our meeting, she came fully prepared with information regarding each of the incidents that I had mentioned in my opinion piece, including a physical copy of my piece as well as logs from DPS from the time frames that I had provided to her. Dee was very open in our discussion and apologized for everything that me and my friends had to endure. One thing that stuck out to me in our meeting was that she mentioned while reading the article, promptly titled “My Frustration with the Department of Public Safety,” that she, as well as other DPS officers and officials, felt the frustration I felt.

I talked with Dee about what I accidentally and purposefully left out and she promptly gave her thoughts on the matters. I even provided the potential idea of working to have some sort of app for phones that coincides with DPS. This could include adding a system where students can see estimated times for which the shuttles could be arriving and how long it would take for it to arrive or if there were any delays that would push back the arrival time of the shuttle. Dee thought the idea was great and related it to a future plan that she and other DPS officials have been working on for a while. 

Dee Danser, through my talk with her, has also emphazied the history of the shuttle and how it was once funded by Student Senate. As someone who frequents the shuttle on Saturday nights to get home from gaming club, my disappointment on their delays have been immense. She ran me down on how the shuttle arose from the student need to get rides from here and there from officers. Students used to call the shuttle on their own to get rides, and that it got so popular that most times, there were wait times of almost two hours. Thus, it resulted in the current system for the shuttle, with the stops based on how frequent students would call to be picked up there. It was interesting seeing how much the shuttle had evolved in such a short time. With how much complaining students have recently had regarding the shuttle, it makes sense that there be some updates. 

In regards to how these situations were dealt with is not my place to say. This includes what happened to the officers involved and whether they were reprimanded or not. However, what I can say was the overall conversation I had with Dee Danser, both regarding my troubles with officers as well as other topics, was extremely pleasant. She always made the atmosphere in which we talked feel open and a place of no judgement, which made me feel safe. 

My meeting with Dee had given me a better idea of who is behind DPS, and I am honored to have been able to talk with her to help improve the safety protocols on campus, especially as a woman who lives far in terms of dormitories from campus.