A normal Friday morning in March was transformed into one full of patrolling, scoping and ticketing during a ride- along with KSU Police officer Garry Dicks.
The KSU Department of Public Safety is composed of 34 sworn-in, certified police officers dedicated to enforcing state laws, federal laws and local ordinances as well as patrolling and providing security for the campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
According to the KSU Police mission statement, “The Department of Public Safety exists to ensure that Kennesaw State University remains a safe and secure community, conducive to the free exchange of ideas within an active setting.”
After signing a waiver relieving KSU Police of any liability from injuries that may occur during a ride-along, any individual involved within the KSU community is free to climb into the passenger seat of a patrol car to spend two hours living the life of an on-duty KSU campus police officer.
In the early morning of March 8, Officer Garry Dicks prepares himself for a regular day of patrolling– execpt this time he will be accompanied by a ride-along passenger in his squad car.
At 9:30 a.m., Dicks begins his day patrolling areas such as Chastain Road, Frey Road, Busbee Drive and George Busbee Parkway.
“We cover a lot of ground,” Dicks said. “Technically our jurisdiction runs 500 yards off of any state property. Then if you wanted to get more technical, being that we’re state employees, technically we’re state police officers, so our jurisdiction is statewide.”
The official jurisdiction for all KSU police officers includes any property owned, rented, leased, controlled or occupied by the Board of Regents and spans another 500 yards in all directions from these properties. Excitement sets in at 10:17 a.m. as Dicks turns on his flashing lights to flag down and pull over a Toyota Solara for having an expired tag. After speaking to the driver and looking closer at the tag, Dicks realizes that he’s made a mistake and the driver’s tag is actually accurate.
“Her decal was valid,” Dicks said. “So I smiled, I apologized and I told her the tags are busy and it was hard to tell whether [hers] was valid or not. She said she completely understood.”
At 10:45 a.m. Dicks pulls over a Nissan Xterra for making an illegal U-turn at a red light. This time Dicks ticketed the driver for a traffic violation.
Dicks is allowed to ticket drivers both on and off campus because all KSU police officers are authorized by Cobb County to enforce all county codes related to traffic enforcement.
According to Public Safety Director Ted Cochran, however, when a KSU police officer makes an arrest, the suspect must be transferred to Cobb County’s detention facility.
“We do not have holding facilities,” Cochran said in an email. “When an arrest is made, the subject is transported to the Cobb County Adult Detention Center.”