Meet our New Police Chief: Lynne Soderberg
With your student living away from home and, in some cases, in a completely different state, safety is likely a top concern. We talked to Lynne Soderberg, HSU’s new interim police chief about some of the safety efforts on campus.
Chief Soderberg, a graduate of the FBI National Academy, has more than 20 years experience in law enforcement, beginning with the Eureka Police Department. Chief Soderberg has deep ties to the community and the students at HSU, having lived in Arcata since she was 12 and having earned a degree from Humboldt State in 1984.
“We’re caretakers of this place,” she says about her team of University Police Department officers. “We take a lot of personal pride in our community and in keeping it safe.”
In addition to the more than 60 “blue light phones” on campus, which connect students directly to HSU’s 911 Emergency Dispatch Center 24 hours a day, students are also encouraged to use the Police Escort System if they ever feel unsafe traveling across campus. If a student calls for an escort, an officer will travel with him or her between any points on campus, whether by bike, on foot or in a police cruiser.
An officer is available every day to respond to calls—even days when classes are not in session.
“We take a lot of personal pride in our
community and in keeping it safe.”
But Soderberg knows there’s more to keeping safe than University Police can do alone. Here are a few tips she shared to help you and your student take a proactive approach to keeping safe both on and off campus.
- Talk with your student about alcohol use. Responsible drinking is crucial for safety and can reduce the risk of dangers, including falls, car accidents and sexual assaults. Underage drinking is not allowed on campus or in the community.
- There’s safety in numbers. Encourage your student to travel with friends when walking around town or campus, especially at night. Advise them to be aware of his or her surroundings and to know the routes and the possible hazards of each. And of course, your student can always reach University Police for an escort on campus by calling 826-5555.
- Be social. Having friends that your student can feel safe and happy with is very important to keeping him or her safe on campus. “We want our students to be involved in healthy activities,” Soderberg says. “Some students can get depressed when they’re at college, especially if it’s their first time away from home.”
- Make travel arrangements in advance. It’s important that your student doesn’t feel rushed when he or she travels from campus, especially if traveling alone in his or her own vehicle. Planning ahead helps alleviate some of the stress of travel. And advise your student to let someone trustworthy know when he or she is leaving and can be expected to return. In one case, a student’s impromptu road trip raised concern for his roommates - he said he was going surfing for the evening and didn’t return for a couple days.
Although there’s no way to absolutely guarantee your student’s safety, here or anywhere, going over these tips with your student can help.
“What can happen in the community can happen on campus,” Soderberg says. “But this is a really safe campus. Parents can feel confident about their students’ safety and our Police Department’s ability to respond.”
To read more about Chief Soderberg and her swearing in ceremony, check out the article.
For more on campus, check out these related links: