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Safety brought to you by campus police

By | March 17, 2013 | News

Fresno State has its own police department, fully functional and operational on its own. Staffed with 21 police officers, seven dispatchers and five administrative support staff members, the department is bustling 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year long.

Fresno State University Officer Gaxiola patrolled the campus free speech area as students watched and bantered with an evangelist speaking on-campus.  Photo by Roe Borunda / The Collegian

Fresno State University Officer Gaxiola patrolled the Free Speech Area as students watched and bantered with an evangelist speaking on-campus.
Photo by Roe Borunda / The Collegian

All officers have received full training in hazard emergency response. They are equipped with full, peace-officer powers in the state of California. They are also heavily involved in the campus, often giving presentations and making themselves available to students as needed.

This is one of the reasons Tatevos Manucharyan has enjoyed these past nine years as a Fresno State police officer.

“The officers here take time to talk to the students,” he said.

He explained that officers routinely give safety presentations to classes on campus, including University High School students, and are readily available to meet with criminology students for projects each semester.

Manucharyan moved to Fresno from Armenia 20 years ago and went on to earn his associate’s degree in liberal studies from Fresno City College. He worked with Fresno Police Department for a year when he heard that Fresno State Police Department was hiring.

“I decided to apply and just haven’t looked back since,” he said.

The University Police Department has two operational areas: patrol and traffic. Patrol operations is responsible for law enforcement. While traffic operations deals with parking and traffic management.

Manucharyan said some of the basic functions of traffic operations are parking enforcement and directing traffic during the busiest times of the day, especially at the beginning of a new semester. He added that traffic operations officers assist staff and faculty in locking and unlocking buildings and classrooms.

Officers are also available to escort students, staff and faculty as necessary.

Imagine walking across Fresno State’s campus one night after everything has closed and feeling as though someone is following you, but when you look around, there is nothing but darkness. If you feel uneasy and your car seems farther away than you remember parking it, you can easily request for an escort.

While every job has its challenges, Manucharyan said he truly enjoys his job. One of the reasons he became an officer was he enjoyed the investigative aspect. After that, he went on to spend his first three years with university police as a detective.

“The most rewarding thing is when you actually solve a crime and you can tell the victim, ‘I got your stuff back’ or ‘I caught the person,’ ” he said.

Some of the success in crime-solving over the past two years could be attributed to an anonymous reporting system called TipNow. It was launched to utilize the popularity of texting and to encourage crime-reporting across campus.

TipNow has been quite successful, Manucharyan said.

He explained the system allows anonymous tips via text, email and phone call and the dispatch staff monitors it around the clock, as well as communicates with the tipster. In the event that a crime is in progress, TipNow allows patrol officers to respond to the scene faster.

The information sent through the various reporting methods is routed using an outside vendor before it is sent to the department. The only way to identify a tipster is with a four-digit alphanumeric alias. With this, even officers are unable to identify the individual.

In the event of an emergency or a crime, call University Police Department at 559-278-8400. If one would rather anonymously report a crime in progress or has information regarding an open case, dispatch is available round-the-clock by calling or texting 559-278-3204.  You can also email your tip or send a picture message to fresnostate@tipnow.org.

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