BYU-Idaho has a reputation for being a safe place, but students should not take this for granted.
Stephen Bunnell, the director of Public Safety, has worked in campus security for 25 years. He and his staff take pride in keeping campus safe.
Q: Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and where you are from?
A: You bet. I was born and raised in New Mexico in a small mining town. After I served my mission I came to Ricks College to go to school and met my wife. She’s a local from the area. And (we) have been here ever since.
Q: How did you come to be a part of campus security?
A: I’ve been with campus security now for 25 years. Back in the early 1990s I owned a small appliance repair shop in town, and things were going along pretty well. And then we started to slip into a recession. It became a little bit harder and harder to collect money from people for repairs that have been made. My wife worked as a dispatcher for Ricks College police department, when there were active police officers in those days. They had an opening come up and I applied for it. I had several friends that worked here at the time and it seemed like a great place to come and work. It was a good environment and just a lot of fun that the guys always talked about having, so I thought I would try it out. I was hired on back in 1993 as a patrolmen with the Ricks College police department.
Q: What are the main things that campus security does to make BYU-Idaho a safer place for everyone?
A: We have 10 officers that are on campus at any given time of the day. They patrol. They make sure at night that all the buildings get locked. We respond if someone is walking across campus and they see something that is out of place or makes them uncomfortable. They can call us and we have people respond to that immediately. We keep an eye for things, (and) not just for things that (are) criminal activity, but we also watch out for things that need to be repaired. (We respond) if parking lot lights aren’t working properly or sidewalk lights (aren’t working) or if there is a specific hazard. We could go all the way down to things such as if the concrete on the sidewalk is starting to shift and it creates a trip hazard, we will call those things in and get that stuff repaired.
Q: What things can the students do to help the security officers in their efforts?
A: The biggest thing we would like for students to do, or for them to like to know, is to be aware of their surroundings. Take responsibility for their own security and safety. Be careful about going out late at night by yourself to go jogging. When you are at home in your apartments after-hours, make sure the door is locked. Make sure that you lock your vehicles. Communication is really huge. You hear this a lot today, but if you see something, say something. If you see something that just doesn’t look right to you, call the Public Safety office and have us come and take a look at it.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: The one thing that I want to be really clear on I think is that BYU-Idaho, and Rexburg itself, is a fantastic community to live in. It’s safe. There are things to do here that are wholesome activities. But it’s still an area where we have the same problems that they do in large cities, just in smaller numbers, you know? Protect your belongings. Make sure they are locked up. Don’t go to the McKay Library and leave your laptop sitting out while you go and visit with friends — those types of things — and your experience here will be fantastic.