PROVO, Utah (ABC4 News) – This week BYU students are coming back to class from their winter break. While they were gone, BYU police had a lot less to do. That inspired the question, what do campus police do when students aren’t there? ABC4’s Brian Carlson has the answer, in this edition of Behind the Badge.
College campuses like BYU are typically bustling with tens of thousands of students, but on BYU’s holiday break, the campus is practically vacant.
“It’s kind of like a ghost town around here,” said Lt. Jeff Long, BYU police department.
BYU Police Lt. Jeff Long oversees the university’s patrol officers who, on empty days during Christmas break, have a lot more time on their hands. So what does BYU police do when college students are gone?
“It’s a good time for the officers to recharge… get caught up on reports, it’s a good time for our guys to get out and know the buildings,” said Long.
With a quiet campus, Lt. Long encourages his officers to exercise, hit the university gym, but most importantly walk through each of BYU’s 100 buildings. He believes knowing each building’s layout, better prepares his officers for the possibility of an on-campus threat, like an active shooter.
“During a normal class break, you’re going to have 3,000 students in here, and if a bad guy came in here with a rifle and he could wreak havoc. So our officers responding they better know where to come in the building, or where they’re going to go, or if that bad guy disappears,” Long said.
He feels having that intimate knowledge is one reason BYU has its own on-campus officers.
“That’s why we’re here, that’s why we’re carrying guns, that’s why we all certify on our AR-15’s so if and when that does happen we can respond to any building on campus, take care of the threat and save students, and we all go home at the end of the day,” he said.
Police said they try to take advantage of the free time while they have it. It’s only so long before BYU’s empty halls fill up again.
The job to learn BYU’s lay of the land is constantly growing. Right now BYU is building a new music building on campus.