Level B at the Homer Babbidge library is now home to the Babbidge Library Substation of the UConn Police Department, a new office to help connect students to their campus police officers.
“We wanted to give the community more access by being in a centrally located area with a high presence of students,” said Officer Eric Bard, who works with the Community Outreach Unit of the police department.
The substation is located on Level B of the library, next to the Laura & Walter Broughton Leisure Reading Room and has been open for about a month.
The goals of the new office are centered on one main theme: communication. The officers are hoping that the new library substation will encourage students to come in, whether it’s to ask them “what if?” questions, inquire about an issue they’re not sure about – basically any police-related issue.
Sometimes, students need to ask about a crime in a dorm or other area and have questions that can more easily be answered by the police than by someone like their hall director, said Sergeant Jason Hyland.
Beyond police-related matters, the officers really want the community to “sit down and get to know [them] as people,” said Hyland.
“If the door is open, come on in,” added Bard.
Both Bard and Hyland encouraged students to stop by and talk, even if it was just to say hello and have a simple conversation.
The officers are working to establish set office hours for student visits, but you can usually find them in the library from eight to noon or contact them to set up an appointment. Right now, they are trying to balance management of the new substation with their other Community Outreach efforts, which include conducting safety presentations for various student organizations and participating in campus activities such as the health and wellness fair Fresh Check Day (This year, they will be running a DUI simulator. Stop by Fairfield Way April 23 from 1-4 p.m. to check it out!).
The office is also home to many brochures and information- ranging from the latest bus schedules to resources for sexual assault victims. Students may enter and take any materials they need, no questions asked (although Bard and Hyland are happy to offer any help they can).
If your student organization is interested in a presentation by the UConn Police Community Outreach Unit, email firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also open to any new suggestions of interesting and unique ways for students and the police department to interact.