It’s Sunday evening, and I’ve been in studying in Earl Gregg Swem Library for hours. After re-reading the same line in a textbook six times, I realize I need to take a study break for dinner. Instead of collecting all of my books, dragging them all the way to the Sadler Center, and then having to seek out a new study spot in Swem upon returning, I simply leave the books where they are. I am confident they won’t be moved or stolen for the next hour.
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about both the security of students and their possessions at the College of William and Mary. There have been many claims made for and against both the police at the College and the Williamsburg Police Department. To ensure both personal safety and the safety of personal property, our greatest asset as students at the College is an active police force.
In an idealistic world, there would be no point in having a police force at the College at all because there would be no crime. Of course, this will never happen. Recently, a brick was thrown through the back windshield of my friend’s car. While no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility and my friend is financially responsible for the damage, the police handled the situation quickly — seeking out my friend to inform her of the damage. Whether or not we have an honor code in place, vandalism does occur in the form of cheating and stealing across campus. Most students at the College do not break the Honor Code and respect the possessions of their peers — ensuring the safety of my study materials at Swem. There are, however, those isolated instances in which personal belongings are destroyed or go missing. In these cases, the students affected rely heavily on the campus police to resolve the issue.
The police are not just responsible for protecting the private property of students at the College, however. The safety of students is frequently called into question — usually because of some lapse of judgment on weekend nights. Many students complain about alcohol regulations and arrests made when students are drunk in public. After personally witnessing a friend being taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning very early in my college career, I understand and respect the fact that the College administration and police force does so much to prevent binge drinking on campus. If a police officer is simply able to give a student a warning for being drunk in public, the student is less likely to engage in similar behavior in the future, which could ultimately save that student’s life.
Whether or not students think that having a police force on campus that is so actively involved is fair, they must admit that the police are necessary to provide security for both our peers and our property. As a student, I know that I personally feel safer and worry less about my belongings knowing that there is a police force to protect students.