Mercer Police chief, students offer safety tips

Safety on and off campus remains an important issue for both new students and upper classmen.

Students returning to campus should remember to stay aware no matter how comfortable they have become with the area.

Police Chief Gary Collins, along with the entirety of the Mercer Police Department, made it clear in an interview with Ashley Minelli of NBC that protecting students remains the top priority going into the fall semester.

“We know that the students that come here are the sons and daughters of someone, and we want to keep them as safe as we possibly can,” says Chief Collins.

More of Mercer’s police force will patrol campus this fall to enforce security, and Chief Collins urges students to contact Mercer Police at any time by calling 478-301-HELP or 478-301- 4357.

Although more police will be present on campus the need for safety precautions is not unwarranted.

Chief Collins suggests abiding by these safety tips to help students stay out of danger both on and off campus.

“If you see something, say something. Report any suspicious activity to the police,” said Collins.

Collins also suggests never going anywhere with someone you do not really know and he urges students to always be aware of their surroundings on and off campus.

“Don’t ever think it can’t happen to you. It can,” said Collins so “travel with friends and utilize Mercer’s trolley service.”

Collins also urges students to keep a watchful eye out and not to believe that everyone who appears nice is truly nice.

“Do not lend your Bearcard to anyone, and keep your car doors locked and windows up when driving,” said Collins.

“Help us help you and remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is,” warned Collins.

Chief Collins’ last safety tip is to remember Mercer Police. He encourages that students put the department’s number on speed dial.

Mercer Police want it known that even if a student is not on campus MerPo can be called if they are needed.

Other safety tips include knowing where the emergency poles are located on campus and signing up for the RAVE cell phone alert system, which sends alerts to students through text messages and includes I.D. tracking features.

Mercer students can sign up for the RAVE Guardian system through their MyMercer accounts anytime during the year.

In combination with Chief Collins’ safety tips, some Mercer students have their own safety precautions.

“Don’t go anywhere by yourself, especially at night. That’s my main rule,” said junior Albert Sykes.

“My main safety tip is dark places are scary for a reason, and don’t be stupid, always have a plan,” said senior Gene Mitchell.

“If you’re late make sure someone knows about,” Mitchell said, also adding that car keys can be more than just keys; they can be used for protection.

“I would suggest taking a self-defense, carry mace or maybe even a Taser,” said Sykes.