SLU DPS Officers Seen Not Wearing Masks On Campus

Reports from students recently surfaced that some SLU DPS officers have not been following university mask policies while on campus.

SLU’s mask mandate policy has largely been adhered to by students, faculty and staff. It has been a community-wide effort, as many offices on campus such as the Dean of Students and the Student Responsibility and Conduct Office have offered support to the community in regards to enforcing the policy. But some students have questioned how seriously DPS officers are taking the mask policy.

“It makes me feel kind of frustrated that the school is sending us these emails, really emphasizing that the students do their part which, you know, that’s valid. The students should definitely do their part, but their own employees of the institution, are the ones who are disregarding the rules,” says Kara Bruns, a junior psychology and communication student.

Some SLU students claim that throughout the semester they have seen DPS officers not following the mask policy, even when indoors.

“Once when I was in the BSC, kind of by the desk area, they were just hanging out without masks on. And I’ve noticed it like outside the BSC but like across the street like by Grand, when they’re just standing around that intersection… it was a couple of weeks ago,” says Elle West, a senior studying communication sciences and disorders.

Hannah Ducay, a sophomore majoring in investigative medical sciences says she’s also seen officers without masks. “I’m pretty sure I was just walking down West Pine and he was not [wearing a mask]. He was pretty close to me because he said hi…  I didn’t notice it then, but thinking back now I’m pretty sure he wasn’t wearing a mask because I could remember his mouth moving.”

“There’s been numerous circumstances and occasions with DPS officers without their mask,” reports Bruns.

DPS Chief Jim Moran says that it has been a change for his department, as it has been for the university, but that they are constantly in process of improving the department in adhering to mask policies.

“As with any other department this is new to all of us… Once we had a chance for everyone to know what was expected of them (sometimes a reminder of that is required) we have not heard any more complaints,” says Moran.

Moran also tells The University News that DPS has changed many of their protocols to adhere to SLU social-distancing policies. But even as DPS has seemed to improve their mask-wearing over the semester, some students say that DPS should take more effort in enforcing the policy. 

Bruns claims that on multiple occasions she has seen DPS officers not enforcing the mask mandate for students and off-campus visitors. 

“I just think it’s funny how they’re actually not enforcing public safety,” says Bruns.

On the other hand, Moran says it is not the responsibility of DPS to solely be the enforcer of these rules.

“No, we are not responsible, except to say that every SLU community stakeholder is responsible for this policy. The University policy, to help us remain as safe as possible, is a shared responsibility and we support the university in its effort to ensure the safety of our campus,” says Moran.

While students like Bruns say it’s annoying that campus departments like DPS have struggled to adhere to mask policies, Moran says that he and DPS “welcome any information that determines one of our staff is not doing so.”