TJC president blogs about campus safety for Huffington Post -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

TJC president blogs about campus safety for Huffington Post

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An East Texas college is expanding its reach, now that its president is blogging for The Huffington Post.

Tyler Junior College President Dr. Mike Metke recently wrote about campus safety-- highlighting the changes their campus has made. A security overhaul has cut down on crime and made parents feel better about sending their students to TJC.

Metke's blog post details the changes that make TJC's campus a safer place.

"We started to find out that there were people on our campus that may have looked like students, but they didn't have an educational purpose for being here," explains Metke.

To keep those people out, Metke and a committee, called the Civility Committee, worked to make the college a number one choice for parents.

The committee's ideas on safety transformed the school's environment.

"Probably hundreds of innovations... everything from bike patrol, cutting bushes, [security] cameras to the I.D. lanyards that we wear," says Metke.

The lanyards and I.D.s, which Metke worried would be the biggest hurdle, have become accepted, and people who don't belong stand out.

"The I.D., the lanyard, tells people that you're a part of our family," he says.

Outdoors, you'll notice what they call "crime prevention by environmental design."

"Here is a really nice area. As you can see, it has this... study area. It's well lit, and at any point in time you can see what's going... and it looks visually nice," says Tom Johnson, Tyler Junior College's Director of Campus Security.

The trees are trimmed higher and shrubs are trimmed shorter, so the 300 surveillance cameras have a farther reach. Ledges where people would loiter are no longer comfortable seats, and picnic tables where large groups used to gather and intimidate others have been replaced.

"It wasn't that we had an unsafe campus by any means, but now we know what we have and most colleges don't know. It would surprise and maybe be a little upsetting to know what you have on your campus if you really knew," says Metke.

Since making these changes, crime statistics show that TJC has had fewer sex offenses, burglaries, assaults and vehicle thefts. School officials also say they've been able to cut their budgets for maintenance and repair by keeping people who aren't students off of campus.

Dr. Metke says he thinks he'll write about financial aid and partnerships with local businesses next. If you'd like to see more of the changes that TJC has made when it comes to safety, click here.

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