Students at Colorado State University-Pueblo may have noticed that the police presence on campus has been intensified lately.
Anyone who attended the rally and budget meeting last on Jan. 17 may have felt the tension in the air as people discussed the controversial budget cuts and layoffs of faculty members.
During these recent events, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s office had an increased presence, not only on campus, but also in the nearby community.
According to Cora Zaletel, executive director of external affairs at CSU-Pueblo, the increase in police presence was a routine response for large-scale events.
Because the Pueblo County Sheriff’s office provides the security for the campus, the university allows the sheriff’s office to determine how much police presence is necessary for campus events and situations.
“Because of the potential number of individuals attending the rally and the meeting, the sheriff’s office did increase its usual coverage in an effort to cover the rally, the forum, and its regular security duties on the remainder of the campus,” Zaletel said.
At CSU-Pueblo, trained law enforcement officers are on campus at all times. These officers are not security guards or campus police; they are seasoned members of the Pueblo County Sheriff’s office and are trained to handle any situations that might arise on a college campus.
Sgt. Tom Proud, a member of the sheriff’s department for 22 years, is one of the 11 officers assigned to CSU-Pueblo. He has served in many capacities throughout his years on the force including patrol officer, internal affairs and investigative detective.
According to Proud, there are a number of officers on campus at any given time. When the university is in full swing, there are at least four or five here to respond to any issues.
When large events occur that number is increased, and as a precautionary measure, there are usually groups such as SWAT stationed nearby to be reactionary should the need arise.
Although the school did not request the extra police presence, the sheriff’s office did notify the administration at the university of the increased presence they would have during the rally.
“The administration did not request the SWAT but was notified by the Sheriff’s office that a SWAT is standard operating procedure in the operations plan for a large scale event or multiple events such as occurred on campus on Friday,” Zaletel said.
According to Proud, many of the officers stationed at CSU-Pueblo are students on campus as well and they take their job of protecting their fellow students very seriously.
“Everything the agency does is proactive,” Proud said. “The university is our home, it’s our community and we have the backing of 316 fire, police and first responders to help us keep it safe.”