Campus police meet students on the court
Devin Hollister – Contributor
On Sept. 15, 2021, the university Police department held the “Clash on the Court” event for staff and students. This event was for students interested in spending time and playing basketball with the police dept.
The event was held on the campus basketball courts at 5:30 p.m. It was originally scheduled for the university’s “Week of Welcome,” but was rescheduled due to weather complications.Among the people there were student athletes and officers from the campus police station. Police Chief Joseph Dooley was also there to support the event and participate alongside students.
“It’s great we’re here and participating,” said Chief Dooley. “It’s great for our department and a lot of people were energized on doing it, and it’s fun!” The idea of “Clash on the Court” was first presented by Sgt. Kim Claire of the university Police.
“It was made to create a time together to do community building,” Sgt. Claire said. “It was just for police to interact with staff and students to build better relationships on campus; that was the goal. It’s important work we all have to do.”
The basketball game mainly consisted of a knockout tournament, with participants having the objective of free-throwing into the basket while trying to not get “knocked out,” by the other player making it into the basket before they do. The game continues until the last two players stand and try to make it in the basket.
Prizes, donated from the university, were also given for the winners of the tournament, such as clothing from the bookstore, gift cards from retail stores and free food from Sodexo, campus’ primary food service.
The police dept. has their own official Instagram page and posted their first “Clash on the Court” announcement on Sept. 1, 2021, with an update regarding their original postponement. It also gave information on how to sign up to participate in the event, including the email of Sgt. Claire, organizer.
Other posts on their official Instagram page show their involvement with the campus community, whether it be with the sports teams, construction workers or general students. The “Clash of the Courts” event appears to be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the department’s campus engagement.
Students who had shown up to the event and did not play in the tournament claimed they still had a great time. Chikaodili Okeke, a graduate student also attended, showing that even alumni were part of the event.
“It’s fun for making connections and meeting new people,” Okeke said. “It’s just nice to see people happy and doing stuff on campus.”
With the police dept.’s work in trying to involve themselves with students and faculty, it shows they want to provide strength in the relationships with people on campus. Students who attend the events the police host have provided benefits to their cause of being involved with one another, such as the bond and trust they have with campus police. This basketball event has been one of many to bring the students and university police dept. together, the department’s primary goal.
“If you look at who’s out there and you listen to the people and the laughter and the fun,” said Chief Dooley, “it’s a win-win.”