‘Grace period’ serves as warning to students

Ken Kennedy - Director of Public Safety

Ken Kennedy – Director of Public Safety

Ken Kennedy

In the past, the Missouri Southern department of public safety officers have been referred to as the “Campus Gestapo” for the large number of citations issued, and the “fun police,” for the no-alcohol-on-campus policy.

In reality, the DPS exists to make sure everyone is safe on campus and so students may be more successful.

One program that has been instrumental in accomplishing that goal has been the “ticket grace period.”

During the first week of classes at the beginning of each semester, instead of “real citations,” hundreds of warning tickets are placed on vehicles on campus parking lots reminding students to get their vehicles registered or to park in other areas to avoid citation. Students who missed orientation or who have simply forgotten really appreciate this practice.

The exception to the grace-period rule is the attempt by motorists to park in fire lanes, handicapped spots, on the grass or in a space designated for a specific faculty/staff member.

Even first-time students will know not to park in those areas, as those rules are very universal.

By far the largest number of warning tickets will be given for “failure to register,” so this would be a great place to offer some helpful information about that:

•Parking stickers for students are free and available at the DPS office on the west end of campus.

•Students may obtain as many stickers as they need for multiple vehicles.

•Residence-hall students receive a different sticker than commuter students and are not permitted to park on the “campus side” until after 3 p.m. on weekdays.

•Just obtaining a sticker for a specific vehicle and then not attaching it to the vehicle is still a violation for “failure to register.”

•Parking stickers are valid for as long as you are taking classes at MSSU, unless there is a design change, and ample warning will be given to obtain the new style.

•Stickers should be affixed to the back window on the driver’s side, or if the back window is tinted, it should be placed on the lower corner of the windshield on the passenger’s side.

Every semester, a rumor circulates that “if you don’t get your car registered they won’t know who owns it and you can park anyplace you like.” Please don’t buy into that.

The DPS has access to information disks from the Missouri Department of Revenue, as well as other local law enforcement.

If the license plate is not on file yet with either source a “wheel clamp” may be attached to an unidentified vehicle receiving three or more citations.

Homeland Security and other safety concerns mandate that all vehicles parked on campus are identified. Please help us in our effort to ensure the safety of everyone.

If you need more information, please give me a call (Ken Kennedy – 625-9741). Have a safe and successful semester.

[Editor’s note: In addition to this initial column from Director of Public Safety Ken Kennedy, The Chart will strive to provide relevant public safety and security tips from Kennedy’s office.

They will appear as a complementary feature to the regular campus security reports.]