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The CU Police Department pays students to look for trouble and call police’s attention to it. Students looking to help bust down on crime can join the Community Service Aide program, a project overseen by the CU Police Department. The CSA program plays an important role in reducing crime on campus.
The program consists of students who watch trouble spots on campus and report disturbances to officers over a radio. Community Service Aide members check doors to make sure they are locked, in addition to talking to students about campus safety.
Officer Brian Rush, the coodinator of the CSA program, said the main thing the aides do is walk around campus and report safety hazards such as dysfunctional street lights or potholes.
“They’re actually a pretty integral part of the police department,” Rush said. “If, for example, we have a lot of bike thefts, they’re aware of that and if there has been a concern about lights being out at a certain area, they’re aware of that.”
The aides also keep an eye on areas for the police.
“Occasionally we’ll use them to watch high crime areas,” Rush says. “They’ve occasionally watched bike racks from a distance or stakeout different parking lots when we have a lot of car break-ins.”
The volunteers in the program are not allowed to contact people committing a crime.
“That’s actually one of the things they’re not allowed to do,” Rush said. “They’re not allowed to contact people in an enforcement role or any other way than a positive context. They’re not allowed to contact any criminals or anyone participating in criminal activity.”
CSA members are paid $9 an hour at the beginning and receive a raise of $0.25 for every semester they stay on. The students are expected to work 16 hours a week.
“We are looking to hire maybe three or four people,” Rush says. “So we’re going to hire more in January.”
Underage drinking is not something these aides deal with. The police department does not want the aides to be perceived as rats who tell on their fellow students for small criminal infractions.
“One of the things we don’t want them doing is to turn into snitches on minor things,” said Lt. Brad Wiesley, spokesman for the CUPD. “If they see someone having a beer that might look underage, they don’t call us on those. If they see people fighting, they’re going to call us on that serious stuff.”
One of the students involved is a Patrick Diaz, a senior mathematics major. He has been a CSA since September 2003 and is a student supervisor of the program.
“I like it, it’s a way to make a difference on campus,” Diaz said.
Diaz also likes the financial benefits offered by the program.
“It’s a job that pays well too. It’s decent for a student job. More so, it’s a way to get out and talk to people while having a positive effect on campus,” Diaz said.
Diaz plans on going into law enforcement after he graduates. He says his experience as a CSA played into his decision to take that career path.
“I was always interested in law enforcement, but I never thought of it as a career,” Diaz said. “Then I did this job and saw how positive and fulfilling it could be.”