Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

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Interview with Chief of Police

Ryland Roberts
Front door of NEIU Police Department on North Campus

The Independent sat down with Joe Przybyla, the newest Police Chief of NEIU, for an interview at the university police office. Upon meeting him, he was extremely friendly and professional. Topics discussed were his previous experience, campus safety, safety protocols for the Nest, and what the NEIU community should be expecting for next semester.

Chief Przybyla started his position as Chief of Police for NEIU in May of 2023. One might have seen him chatting up NEIU students and faculty alike, being friendly to everyone. Officer Przybyla’s former position was at Northern Illinois University (NIU). After working there for 21 years, he started his search for better opportunities.

 “I see a really good community here. It seems like staff and faculty really want to work hard for the best of students,” Chief Pryzbyla said when answering how he has been enjoying the campus so far. “It seems like a lot of the students are here because they want to be here and are here because they’re working hard towards a degree which I really respect those values for both so I’m really enjoying this experience” 

Chief Przybyla was asked what his approach to campus crime is. “It’s … very different policing on a campus than in a city or a rural area.” He understands that the NEIU community is diverse and that everyone has had different situations with the police. “So we need to be good ambassadors, whether you’ve had a great experience in the past with the police, or not so great experience, we’re different and we have high standards on how we’re going to treat our students, our staff [and] our faculty.” Chief Pryzbyla answered.

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For many students, gun violence has been a worry, especially for the students living in the Nest. This past year at the Nest, a guest brought a gun to a New Year’s Eve party. The Independent previously reported that metal detectors and more security had been proposed at the Nest. Currently, there is one security guard who sits at the front desk and walks around the Nest’s hallways every hour, and no metal detectors.

When asked, Chief Przybyla explained that the Nest is operated by American Campus Communities (ACC), a private company, and it is their decision when it comes to situations regarding their private security staff. While Campus PD will stop by to patrol, the department can not do much to implement safety features inside the Nest.

Safety is important to a lot of students in the Nest and on campus, especially this generation of students that have grown up around violent crime in schools. On Aug. 28, 2023, a University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill faculty member, Zijie Yan, was shot and killed by a student he advised. Two weeks after the shooting, UNC Police arrested another armed student. School shootings have made a lot of students around the U.S. uneasy.

As safety issues arise around campuses there are safety initiatives being put in place, such as A.L.I.C.E. The acronym stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. It is put in place in the event of a school shooting.

“So by the end of the semester,” Chief Przybyla told the Independent, “we will have the A.L.I.C.E program set up and running to where … groups can set up a session to go through the training. … We’re going to also have some sessions posted where somebody can individually sign up. … The A.L.I.C.E  program is going to be the biggest way that we educate and also mitigate those worries. We also are partnering with Western Illinois University through a grant program. They have to bring the nation’s foremost expert on this behavioral threat assessment to El Centro … to teach a two-day class. … We’re going to be lucky enough to have one of the best experts in the country come in and teach us about that”. More information on A.L.I.C.E training is to come in the following Spring 2024 semester. 

Chief Pryzblya hopes to ease the concerns students may have about campus safety and has a lot planned for keeping students safe here at NEIU. He is excited to be at Northeastern and wants everyone to know that anyone is free to contact him via email at [email protected] or stop by the police station, located under the parking garage, at any time.

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About the Contributor
Ryland Roberts
Ryland Roberts, Online Editor
Ryland is studying Education at NEIU. Originally, He joined The Independent as a photographer in Fall 2023. Within the Fall 2023 semester, they gained the roles of Social Media Manager, Online editor, and staff writer. Only being at NEIU since Fall 2023, He is passionate about what he does and plans to hone his journalism skills while working at the newspaper.

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