With finals week looming, many students will be making trips to and from the library late at night.
Rebel Patrol, an extension of the University Police Department’s Crime Prevention Program, offers walk-along escorts to students who are concerned about traveling alone on campus, especially at night.
Captain of Support Operations Thelma L. Curry oversees Rebel Patrol. Curry said the service provides a sense of security to students who may be anxious to walk around campus after dark, especially long distances, such as to the parking lots. Escorts are also available to walk with students to Campus Walk.
“It’s basically just walking along with somebody for company and making sure everything is OK,” Curry said. “We are there if they need us, and we want to do it, because we don’t want folks to feel unsafe walking alone.”
The department has hired escorts to be placed at various areas around campus.
“Basically, when they encounter somebody, they ask if they’d like to be escorted to their residence hall or the parking lot,” Curry said. “I hire students to do this. They come in at various hours, and at night I have more on than others.”
Students can identify escorts by their lime green vests labeled “Rebel Patrol”. Students may also call UPD at 662-915-7234 for an escort, and officers are available to provide on-campus escorts when students are not on duty.
“Some people take advantage of the service, while others just say ‘No, I’m OK,’” Curry said. “We are there if they need us.”
Senior computer science major Jesse Sullivan said the service is a good opportunity for students to take safety precautions.
“It’s a very effective tool that all students should consider and shouldn’t just shove aside because they are ‘tough enough,’” Sullivan said. “Back when I was a freshman and living on campus, the Rebel Patrol was in its earlier phases, and I didn’t get very much of a chance to take advantage of it, but I’ve seen and heard of it being used more, which is great.”
Rebel Patrol is designed to operate predominately at night, but students may call UPD for an escort at any time. Escorts are typically located close to entrances and exits. Common stations are residence halls, J.D. Williams Library and Weir Hall.
“It varies from night to night,” Curry said. “Mondays and Tuesdays may be busier than Sundays and Thursdays. It has to do with students’ workloads.”
Curry said Rebel Patrol tries to station the escorts around where a lot of students go to work on different projects and assignments.
The service operates in the evening from 7:30 p.m. to midnight and is planning to start earlier, when the time falls back for daylight savings and it gets darker sooner.
“It’s a program that we want students to take full advantage of,” Curry said. “You can very easily call us and not have to be by yourself.”