Large-scale events and increased engagement will add to the University of Minnesota Police Department’s usual responsibilities this semester.
The UMPD will have an increased presence to monitor Super Bowl-related events and other campus activities. The department will also look to increase engagement by promoting mental health resources and community outreach.
“There are a lot of great things happening on and off campus,”UMPD Chief Matt Clark said.
The department is collaborating with multiple agencies such as the Minneapolis Police Department, the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County to help patrol events leading up to Super Bowl LII.
UMPD will be staffing the NFL Honors show at Northrop Auditorium on Feb. 3 — an event dedicated to the NFL’s players and moments from the past season.
Following the Super Bowl, Clark said UMPD will begin preparations this spring for Minneapolis’ next big event, the 2019 NCAA Final Four.
“There haven’t been other huge events like these in recent history, so it’s exciting for UMPD,” said Lacey Nygard, a University of Minnesota spokesperson.
Increased police presence may also be needed at an event next month. Ben Shapiro, a popular conservative figure, will speak on campus on Feb. 26. Shapiro’s speeches have spurred protests at colleges like the University of California, Berkeley, costing the school around $600,000 in security.
“We always staff up for stuff like this,” UMPD Lieutenant Erik Swanson said.
Nygard said UMPD is working with the conservative student groups sponsoring the event for security.
Engaging the campus community
Off-campus events will garner large amounts of attention this spring, but certain changes will be implemented in daily campus life as well.
UMPD’s newly-added mental health officer, Kari Quast, will work with campus partners like Boynton Health and Student Counseling Services to offer support to students in crisis.
UMPD’s community engagement team will also look to increase its presence on campus through events and outreach, Clark said.
“Our community engagement team continues to host events on campus to encourage positive interaction and engagement between the police and campus community,” he said.
As spring approaches, the University’s public safety department will promote services to protect students from potential area crime, Clark said.
Crime typically increases as the weather gets warmer, UMPD Lieutenant Chuck Miner said, adding that the department anticipates a spike in service calls and enforcement.
“What we do is kind of seasonal,” Miner said. “When it’s cold in the wintertime, students tend to stay inside more, and so do the criminals who target the campus.”