Rising distrust for police has made resources, such as UCA’s non-emergency number, crucial to reducing fear among students and aiding those who have anxiety about calling police an executive member of UCA’s Social Justice Committee said.
The Public Information Officer for the UCA Police Department Michael Hopper explained that the campus’ main non-emergency number is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by the department’s communication personnel.
“Both numbers [911 and the non-emergency number] ring into our communication center, however, the 911 calls have priority over non-emergency calls,” Hopper said.
The main difference between these two numbers, according to Hopper, was that dialing 911 on campus may connect the caller to the City of Conway communication center “depending on which cell tower handles the call.” The caller would then tell the communications operator that they are on UCA’s campus which will transfer them to the UCA PD’s communication center.
Hopper said that the number can be contacted for a variety of things including “needing directions, help with a disabled vehicle or someone needing a report made.”
An anonymous source said they called the non-emergency number after their ex-partner appeared to be yelling outside the source’s dorm room. After calling the number, anonymous was transferred to the campus police who were dispatched to the source’s residence.
“It was an experience that nobody wants to have, but it did show me that I can trust our UCA police system and I’m very grateful that I was able to call their non-emergency number instead of 911 for the actual Conway PD,” anonymous said.
The non-emergency number can also be used for students experiencing a mental health emergency outside of the Counseling Center’s business hours, according to the Counseling Center’s website. During the Center’s business hours, crisis care can be facilitated by calling their office at 501-450-3138.
Executive member of the UCA Social Justice Committee Ajah Criner commended the non-emergency number for its ability to mitigate anxiety in students who may be fearful of contacting police directly.
The Social Justice Committee recently created a new non-emergency contact system for students who feel as though they have been “wronged,” Criner said.
Students can contact members of the committee, including Criner, Romala Dominguez, Dwight Blakey and Senior Diversity and Inclusion Administrator Richard Martin to report possible discrimination.
Criner said that this initiative was discussed with campus police as well as other concerns held by the committee.
“We discussed campus and police interaction, procedures for traffic stops, accountability and discipline when a police officer takes advantage of their authority and interactions with civilians in general,” Criner said.
Criner said that the meeting was an important first step to building a relationship between the committee and campus police.
Any students who need to contact the campus non-emergency number should call (501) 450-3111.