Baylor, Waco P.D. urge students to be responsible

DIA cutoutBy Taylor Rexrode
Staff Writer

Baylor and Waco police will be present on and off campus during Thursday’s Diadeloso celebration.

Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, said she did not know whether there will be more police officers stationed off-campus than usual; however, she said student leaders, such as residence hall community leaders, have received communication from the office of Kevin Jackson, vice president for student life, telling them to encourage students to stay safe and responsible.

“He has written to student leaders and on Wednesday will write to the entire student body to urge care for one another, for our community and for the care of our Diadeloso tradition,” Fogleman said.

Jackson could not be reached for a comment at the time of publication.

Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak said the two police departments work together but the city offices have more authority.

“The Waco Police Department has primary jurisdiction,” Doak said. “We don’t have primary control. We work within the confines of the university, but we also have a presence off campus.”

Waco and Baylor police will patrol and monitor on-and-off campus activities on Diadeloso. Doak said the Baylor police will do “what we always do” and that Diadeloso will not change their procedures.

“We are going to deal with irresponsible behavior whether it is on campus or off campus,” Doak said. “That’s not just Diadeloso, that’s any day. Nothing changes there.”

Doak said he recognizes that Diadeloso brings different challenges but that these problems will be dealt with individually as needed.

Waco Police Department Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said he would not reveal operational plans for Thursday — such as where officers will be stationed or whether or not this year will be different from last year’s Diadeloso — but he said students who stay within legal boundaries will be able to “go without any noticeable police presence.”

“Ideally, we won’t have to do anything,” Swanton said. “It’s about responsibility, enjoying the day but making sure to not ruin this for students in the years to come by putting someone in harm’s way.”

For many students, this potential crackdown on security and surveillance off-campus comes as an unwelcome interference on their free day.

A Baylor student who wishes to remain anonymous because of his participation in 10th Street activities said that no matter how many officers patrol off campus, the Baylor administration and police forces will not be able to squash off-campus festivities.

“I think they have no chance of getting rid of off-campus Diadeloso because it is the most fun tradition at Baylor,” he said. “It’s one giant party within a couple blocks. Although many state schools may feel it is common, most of the people at Baylor think it’s a big deal. We are not used to experiencing something like that. With it being restricted, it becomes a bigger deal to us. It makes us want to do it even more.”

Some students, however, think that Baylor and the police could do more to keep students safe and following the laws.

Eagen, Minn., senior Joshua Gates said police officers need to be more consistent.

“I think they need to make a decision,” Gates said. “They need to let it completely happen and not care or they need to get on it and stop all underage drinking. I hope they crack down on it.”

Baylor has a zero tolerance policy for drinking, possession of alcoholic beverages and public intoxication on campus and police will make sure students off campus abide by state and federal laws, including age restrictions.

Fogleman said that the main concern of Baylor officials is student safety.

“I think it’s important to note that the administration is concerned about the health and safety of our students and the continuation of our great Diadeloso tradition,” Fogleman said.