Today is the first day of the 2019-2020 school at Pittsburg State University. The normally sleepy city in Southeast Kansas will swell as almost 6,000 students from throughout the Four States either move to Pittsburg or reside it’s in neighboring cities. Safety is a key concern at a university where 100’s of students also call campus their home.
The safety and security of Pittsburg State is a personal matter to the Director of the universities Police department, Stu Hite. As a 1991 graduate of Pittsburg State and a lifelong resident of Southeast Kansas he first had the idea that he wanted to work in law enforcement while attending PSU. Hite joined Pittsburg State in August of 2018 after a 30-year career working for the Crawford County Sheriff’s office. He says the university police department is consistently assessing what works well and what could be better when working with the university community.
Those of us who reside permanently in the Four States know that the weather can turn on a dime. Director Hite points out that students who are new to the area maybe aren’t familiar with how quickly the area can turn from sunny skies to a tornado warning. He suggests that both new students and staff members pay attention to their surroundings in case they need to react to an extreme weather situation.
Concealed carry laws in Kansas are another topic of discussion when a new school year starts. According to Director Hite Pittsburg State students with the proper permits can carry a concealed weapon on to the campus of Pittsburg State with one exception. The universities police station.
Hite goes on to say that if students are going to wear it on themselves it needs be in a store in a one or two strap holster. In addition, the student cannot be intoxicated or under the influence or prescription or illegal drugs. Furthermore, if the student resides on campus they must have a proper gun lock box to store the weapon in.
With the increase in the number of residents who call Pittsburg and it’s surrounding communities home during the fall and spring semesters Director Hite warns that properly crime also increases and not to leave valuable items in your car. (Even if they are hidden under your passenger seat) As a lifelong resident he knows that Pittsburg is a quiet town and that is what often draws people to Southeast Kansas but that it can also be misleading and not to let your guard even if you think the area that you live in is safe.