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Taking Care of Campus: UNG Police Officer Shares His Perspective

Taking Care of Campus: UNG Police Officer Shares His Perspective
Officer Sosebee (left). Photo provided by Chris Sosebee

“You meet students, and you see the same faces, and it’s kinda sad knowing they’re going to be gone in four years,” University of North Georgia police officer, Chris Sosebee, says. Sosebee has been working for UNG almost seven years and enjoys the relative quiet that campus offers.

Prior to working at UNG, Sosebee worked at the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office. He moved into campus policing for the environment it provides and how well the school takes care of its officers. He says, “We’ve got nice equipment, we’ve got nice vehicles, we’ve got an office, we’re well taken care of.” The new UNG Public Safety building cost $2.5 million to take it from a Steak-n-Shake to the new home of the UNG police force.

The sirens that most students hear on campus are not always heading to a dangerous call. Sosebee says, “We’re not always running to something bad… most of the time its med calls.” These are usually physical health problems from students not taking proper care of themselves. He says that a lot of students are living on their own for the first time, and forget that proper nutrition, sleep, and self-care is important.

Many of the med calls he receives are of students collapsing after pulling an all-nighter and “pounding energy drinks with nothing to eat. Next thing they [students] know they’re falling out because their blood sugar is out of whack.” He stressed the importance of taking care of oneself. He says, “We want people to succeed and be successful, and we hope it doesn’t involve our involvement.”

Sosebee said, for mental health aid, that, “We’re very blessed to have the resources we have here on campus.” Many of the calls the campus police respond to are mental health crisis, and he said that during these times, student health services is very useful in getting people the help they need. He also said there are not resources like this within the county system, and that he really appreciates the approach UNG has taken towards mental health.

In terms of hands-on altercations, he has never had any issues on campus. The jurisdiction of the University Police also falls off campus. Any physical issues Sosebee has dealt with have been in these areas. He says, “Any time I’ve had to do anything like that it’s not on central campus…I had to fight at the hospital one time.”

Sosebee says, “Our crime rates are pretty low, and if people want to look at those, they can check our website.” Daily crime logs are available here for all UNG campuses. He says this type of information is very valuable to the public and that it is a good thing for students to have access to.

Even with low crime rates, problems can still arise. Issues like a student wielding a weapon on campus warranted campus police using less-than-lethal weapons to deal with the situation. Sosebee responded to one of these issues and pulled his taser rather than his issued firearm.

Devyn Parsley, sophomore business major, says, “If we have like a school shooting someone needs to be able to protect us.” She also said, “I want to know that if somebody has a gun, someone else has a gun that’s on my side.”

Poll results. Poll taken by Ashley Brehm

She also said she has had only one run in with campus police. Parsley said, “I was sitting outside late after one of my night classes and I felt like it wasn’t really a safe area. I look off and not far from me there was a police officer’s car and I felt safer.” One of the goals Sosebee mentioned was that the campus police try to be “really visible and friendly.” He says, “We’re building relationships with these people.”

Still, in an Instagram poll conducted on Oct. 18, 31 of 43 voters said that police should not carry a lethal weapon on campus. Some respondents said violence cannot be solved with violence. The UNG campus is an open carry campus unless there are dual enrolled students in a classroom. To learn more about open carry at UNG, campus safety has resources on their website.

Sosebee also recommended that all students should download the UNG LiveSafe app, as it is the easiest way to receive emergency messages, get in contact with emergency services and resources. Students can get in contact with UNG police through their phone number (706-864-1500) for emergencies and their email ([email protected]) for any other questions or concerns.

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About the Contributor
Ashley Brehm
Ashley Brehm, Staff Editor
Hey y'all, I'm Ashley! My major is Communications with a focus in journalism. I really enjoy writing for Vanguard because I like to feel like I'm a part of the community and writing about issues pertaining to students is super interesting. My home campus is in Dahlonega, but I also take classes in Gainesville.
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Taking Care of Campus: UNG Police Officer Shares His Perspective