P-safe instates Community Liaison position


Photo courtesy of Alexandra Baldwin

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Baldwin

This past semester, Public Safety at the University of San Diego created a new position on campus. Officer Milton Maples was chosen as the first Community Liaison Officer. Unlike other officers, this new role focuses on developing relationships with different groups here on campus.

“I like being able to walk around campus and knowing people by name,” Maples said. “It promotes a sense of unity here on campus.”

According to Public Safety, this new position was created without adding any additional funding. Public Safety developed this new role when analyzing how to better reach both the students and staff.  In this new role, Officer Maples forms relationships with all the clubs on campus and creates a rapport at their meetings. Sitting in on club meetings, such as Associated Students, BSU, and University Ministry, gives Officer Maples the information he needs to be well informed on campus and in student affairs.

Public Safety states that Officer Maples starts his day at the Alcala West parking structure, when most staff members arrive to campus.

“The staff feels much safer knowing there is a patrol presence near when they arrive in the morning,” Maples said.

Officer Maples then moves to the SLP around breakfast time, and settles in at his position at the information desk at the bookstore for the lunch hour. Parents on tours especially love seeing a patrol presence so close on campus. Officer Maples will end his day by travelling to the Vistas, Valley, and JCP. He checks in with all the community directors at each location.  According to Public Safety, the purpose of the Community Liaison position is to have Officer Maples easily accessible all around campus at different times of the day.

“My presence on campus is even seen by the parents accompanying their children on tours,” Maples said. “I think this is unique to USD’s campus.”

Officer Maples commutes between the locations on campus on a bicycle. By having officers ride their bikes around campus, students and staff can interact with them, and the officers can get from point A to point B.

Maples has been at USD for 16 years. Maples, originally from Georgia, credits an officer he grew up with as his inspiration to put on the badge everyday.

“He was like a father figure,” Maples said. “He was uplifting, yet also made us respect the uniform.”

Officer Maples has his own personal goals for his new role here on campus.  He hopes to create a network with the Immaculata, as well as local churches to help the nearby homeless population. According to Officer Maples, the local homeless sometimes walk onto campus.  He desires to establish an outreach program for them and provide them with food and shelter.

Officer Maples credits his great people skills to his success as a Public Safety officer.  His spirited and highly approachable personality makes this an ideal role for him.

“I feel with my people skills I can reach all the different ethnic roles here on campus,” Maples said.

According to Public Safety, a primary goal for this upcoming year is to register all the bikes on campus. The numerous bike thefts per year has Public Safety on high alert. Currently, all bikes are unregistered, with no way of knowing the owners of the missing bikes. Officer Maples hopes to register bikes with serial numbers and photos on file.

“In the early morning, I often see people with a bike that just doesn’t fit them,” Maples said. “I find it suspicious and will often stop them and ask about the bike.”

With high hopes for its pilot year, Public Safety may look to add an additional officer in the upcoming months.