Columbia Colleges Work To Keep Students Safe

A string of armed burglaries near Allen University, Benedict College, and the University of South Carolina are prompting campus police to address safety efforts.

Allen and Benedict stand side by side with a combined total of more than 1,000 students, but they also attract people who aren't students.

"Because it's in an urban area navigated by so many different people, so many different walks of life it makes our job a little bit more difficult and we always remind the students always be careful and always pay attention to your surroundings," said Allen University Police Chief Kelvin Davis.

Davis has about nine officers at Allen University. Benedict has a force of about 20, and two of them work the the entrance of the school.

"If the dispatcher that's at the front gate senses something that's not right or someone comes in and they're loud and boisterous and music blaring and everything, she'll alert us," Benedict Chief of Police Haywood Bazemore said.

Both Bazemore and Davis employ a lot of the same techniques, including putting officers among students.

"We have a community police officer that resides in the dormitory and that within itself pays dividends for us. He's always amenable, he's always approachable," Davis said.

"Believe it or not they learn these students and they have a good idea of who's a student and who's not a student," Bazemore said.

Benedict is also employing technology with body cameras to record officer interactions.

Both Chiefs say the partnership between the community and the two schools helps keep the trouble beyond the walls.

"We have a good connectivity with the community," Bazemore said. "There's nothing better than community policing. "

"We share training, we share mutual aid agreement with each other in terms of what we can do as it relates to the students and so we have a wonderful relationship. I couldn't ask for anything better," Davis said.


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