Randy Vibrock

Mississippi University for Women’s Police Department reached a milestone recently, filling the roster with full staff for the first time in years, according to Chief Randy Vibrock.

“Our department provides services 24/7. Having a fully staffed department allows us to do our jobs more effectively and efficiently. Patrol officers are the core of campus safety; more officers patrolling gives us greater visibility. Sometimes an officer’s presence and being seen is all that is needed to deter criminal activity,” Vibrock said.

MUWPD serves The W’s campus, including the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

Including Vibrock and his assistant chief, the department boasts eight full-time officers, four full-time gate dispatchers, six part-time officers who work as needed, and an officer manager.

Recently, the department welcomed four new full-time officers and a dispatcher.  Officer Anthony Belgrave, Officer Isaiah Spencer, Officer Robert Hill, Officer Edgard Hall and Dispatcher Jakitta Bolden all joined the department within the last six months.

As an added bonus, all of the officers are fully certified, meaning the department will not have to send them to the police academy for training before they can serve.

Vibrock said, “Departments all across the nation are struggling with recruiting and retaining officers. Campus policing isn’t for everyone. Our call volume and criminal activity are minimal compared to bigger departments, and sometimes officers take advantage of other opportunities. However, this past year, we prioritized our officers’ salaries and now offer a salary that is competitive with our local law enforcement agencies.”

However, the department offers more than just a presence on campus. It offers programs, such as the Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) course, and services that serve to prepare the campus community to defend themselves if the need ever arises.

“R.A.D. provides women with basic self-defense techniques and various tactics to prevent abductive encounters,” Vibrock said.

There are three certified R.A.D. instructors in the department.

Vibrock said the department also offers presentations on personal safety, lockdown strategies and active shooter response.

MUWPD also offers Safe Walk, a program where officers provide a walking escort to people on campus at night.

Upon requesting an escort, an officer will be dispatched to the location, whether it be a vehicle or a building on campus. Officers will also provide standbys. To request an escort or standby, call MUWPD at (662) 241-7777.

All of these programs are a way for the department to evolve to meet the needs of the campus community.

“As a department, we never want to become complacent. We never want to have the mindset of, ‘This is the way we have always done things.’ We are always open to feedback and suggestions from the campus community. We also have a good relationship with other campus police departments and frequently share ideas of ways we can enhance campus safety,” Vibrock said.

Additionally, the department has a partnership with the Columbus Police Department and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office which allows MUWPD to request assistance from outside entities if needed, as well as maintaining a line of communication in relation to events that occur near campus.

Ultimately, campus safety is a group effort, and proper reporting and feedback helps ensure that safety is maintained. Vibrock, along with Housing and Residence Life and Resources Management, conduct yearly lighting surveys across campus. This involves assessing the lighting and making recommendations for improvements. 

Vibrock said, “Campus can play a role by remembering to practice good personal safety, being aware of your surroundings at all times, remembering to lock doors to vehicles and buildings, and reporting suspicious activity immediately. Reporting things to our department allows us to respond quickly and begin our investigation. Our department is here to serve the campus. I strongly encourage suggestions and feedback. Good communication is key to making sure that we are meeting the safety needs of the campus community.”

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.