Next Tuesday, on Oct. 4, the Trinity University Police Department (TUPD) will host a Trinity Night Out from 6 to 9 p.m. on Prassel Lawn. The purpose of the event is to spread awareness about crime and safety, especially for those who live or work on a college campus.
“What’s great is that you bring people who don’t know each other together to talk about safety and other important issues,” said Corporal Paul Morales, a TUPD officer. “They can learn about what they can do to keep community safe. If you see something suspicious or not normal, you need to let the police know. It’s about getting the community involved.”
Most states observe National Night Out in August of every year. Texas experiences higher temperatures during August, however, so most cities in the Lone Star State elect to celebrate National Night Out in October, when the weather is cooler and more bearable.
“Just being able to speak to the students and make a difference is my main goal,” Morales said. “That way everyone can learn something. My role is to educate and create community outreach. We want to share a wide spectrum of knowledge with people.”
TUPD has partnered with Black Student Union in order to make this event possible. Several TUPD officers will be present to talk to students about safety and help them get to know one another. Members of BSU will also be present to help facilitate the event.
“We’re excited about the relationship we’ve built with the Black Student Union,” said Chief Paul Chapa of TUPD. “Tahlar Rowe, the president of BSU, and others have been so gracious as to make flyers and help promote the event in different ways.”
TUPD officers also hope to ultimately achieve a greater sense of community through major events, such as Trinity Night Out.
“Our goal as police officers at Trinity is to let people know that we are a part of the community. We want to ensure that they can always count on us to be part of their experience at Trinity in a positive way,” Chapa said.
Chief Chapa will be present throughout the entire event to talk to students and answer any questions they might have.
“I serve as the chief of police. During the evening, I’ll be there talking about our many different programs that we’ll be promoting and I believe I’ll also be behind the grill,” Chapa said.
At Trinity Night Out, students can get free snow cones, lemonade, sausage wraps and “cop-corn.” There will also be an inflatable obstacle course and a dunking booth where students will be able to dunk several staff members, including TUPD officers and possibly even Dean David Tuttle.
“I would tell everyone to dunk an officer and compete with them in games. This is the time to do it,” said Sergeant Clint Ratliss of TUPD. “We’re normally the ones you see when things have gone wrong, so this event also really helps to put a more personal face to all of our officers on staff. “
TUPD officers want students to have a good time while also becoming more aware of the roles of the police on campus. They also hope this event demonstrates how everyone can work to create a safer environment on campus.
“We’re trying to get the community to interact with us and with each other, to raise awareness and put ourselves out there,” Ratliss said.
Officers recognize that neighborhoods across all of Texas will be also partaking in some similar events. In response, they are gearing the event towards students living on a college campus, while recognizing that the purpose of the event comes from the desire for reliable and secured safety in neighborhoods all across San Antonio, as well as the state of Texas.
“Every city in Texas will be doing the same thing on the same night as us, hopefully with the same mission,” Morales said.
Trinity Night Out has been graciously sponsored by Aramark, Monster and Kiolbbassa Sausage. The event does not have entrance or participation fees. All members of the Trinity community are welcome and encouraged to attend, especially students. For more information about Trinity Night Out, the Trinity Police Department and Black Student Union encourage contacting them so they may address any concerns.