Sunday, Dec 8, 2013
SIU Welcomes New Police Chief
JACKSON COUNTY-- For the first time in nearly a decade, there's a new "top cop" on the SIU campus.
Chief Benjamin Newman spent the last 15 years as a University of Wisconsin-Madison cop, most recently as a lieutenant there. He also fought wildfires for a year in Oregon.
He takes over as SIU Police Chief at a busy time, in the midst of homecoming festivities and Halloween just over two weeks away.
Still, Newman doesn't expect an increase in crime.
"[I] know campuses and universities have notoriety for alcohol consumption and party-like activity. That's not what our focus is.," Newman said, "Our focus is to make sure everybody stays safe."
School records show crime numbers are down 44 percent this academic year.
Last year, fights and an armed robbery led many to question safety at SIU. Newman says the contrary is true, that officers are out on patrol, talking to people.
Part of his strategy is cooperating with Carbondale Police.
"Want to make sure everybody on campus and surrounding areas are safe, monitoring each other's behavior, watching for anything suspicious and reporting any crimes as they occur," Newman agreed.
Chief Newman says they'll treat Halloween like any other large event. His department is communicating with university leaders and working with Carbondale police. He''ll reveal more specifics on their plans the week of Halloween.
Newman replaces Chief Todd Sigler, who was with the department for 30 years.
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