Shippensburg University’s campus police officers traded in their uniforms and parking tickets Thursday evening to host the police department’s second annual picnic.
Last year, SU’s police department held its first picnic with the intention of forming a healthier relationship between the campus’ police officers and its students.
“[The picnic] gives us the chance to meet the students and let them see that we’re more than just the person giving the parking tickets,” Sgt. Pat Taylor said.
This year’s picnic was held in the university’s roller hockey pavilion from 7 to 9 p.m. In addition to hot dogs and hamburgers, Rita’s Italian Ice was available for everyone who attended.
“We just wanted to get to know the faculty [at SU], and free food is never a bad option,” freshman Sophie Matthews said.
Although the picnic is currently the department’s primary interaction with students, Crime Prevention Specialist Julie Clark said she hopes more can be done to eliminate negative premonitions students may have toward campus police officers. She said this year’s picnic had a higher student attendance than last year’s picnic.
Each year, SU’s police department hosts self defense training sessions for students living in the residence halls, and host numerous open forums to train other students on how to remain secure on campus, according to Clark.
“We started [hosting the picnic] because we wanted to have a better relationship with the students, and we thought this was the best way,” Clark said. “Students get the chance to see us as real people. We’re not just the uniforms.”