Greeks, police meeting first step
UAPD and the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity's effort to improve their relationship is a positive gesture that can also help improve campus safety.
UAPD Sgt. Michael Smith visited the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity on Thursday night as the frat's "guest of honor." Smith ate dinner with the frat, which is now the UAPD's new neighbor.
The UAPD's new facility is right across the street from Phi Gamma Delta, at East First Street and North Campbell Avenue.
Instead of letting the UAPD's relocation be a source of tension, the fraternities are making an effort to build a relationship with the campus police. As long as the effort is genuine, it is a positive one that will help foster relations between the campus cops and all campus fraternities.
"We thought that it would be a good idea for our members to be acquainted with our new neighbors," said FIJI president Scott Hunter. "On the surface I'm sure it looks like kind of a snow job, but really the focus is, they're going to be our neighbors."
Furthermore, having the police so close to the fraternity will be an added safety measure. The police have long patrolled the area and know it well, and can continue to give the neighborhood good security.
As Delta Chi president Scott Colon said, "It just basically gives us added security since they're closer."
While the presence of the police may not directly change the fraternities' social events, it will most likely encourage the frats to take greater precautions during their parties. Having the police close by at all times might make the frats think twice about serving underage students alcohol, binge drinking, and engaging in any other harmful behavior that might get them into trouble with the police.
Also, a better relationship between the UAPD and campus fraternities can help erase any stereotypes and preconceptions the two may have about each other.
"We don't have a lot of problems with the fraternities. The UA campus is not 'Animal House'," Smith said. "We handle situations as they arrive, but it's not the misperception of fraternities that have been given in movies."
As long as the fraternities' effort is genuine and is not merely an attempt to "kiss up" to the police, improving the relationship between fraternities and the UAPD is an important safety measure for the entire UA campus. Obviously, one dinner with a fraternity is not going to change how the campus police do their job, and the police will not lend any favors to the fraternity simply because they are making an effort to make friends.
As Hunter pointed out, "They have a job to do, and I don't think this is going to cut us any slack."
Clearly, the effort to foster UAPD-fraternity relations is a positive one that will hopefully improve campus safety as a whole.