New police campaign centers around trust


Lyn Keren/Iowa State Daily

Anthony Greiter, community outreach officer with the Iowa State University Police Department, speaks with a student during their “Coffee with Cops” event Dec. 7. The event was created to start communication with the community in a positive environment. The event was built on the idea of small town where everyone meets in a coffee shop. Instead of officers meeting the community at traffic stops or during stressful events, the hope with “Coffee with Cops” is that it will bring positive dialogue between the community and police officers. 

Thomas Hugo

“We Care” is not just a catchphrase, it’s a way of life.

That’s what ISU Police Officer Anthony Greiter said about the newest ISU Police campaign “We Care; Please Tell Us.”

The ISU Police Department is introducing a new campaign that aims to build trust between students and law enforcement.

Although Iowa State is a fairly safe place, crime still happens all over campus and ISU Police understand that. One of the main goals of “We Care; Please Tell Us” is to increase the likelihood of ISU students reporting crime to university police.

“The ‘We Care; Please Tell Us’ campaign is a reporting campaign. What we want to do is encourage people to come to us … I think the best way to do that is to remind them that we’re humans, and we truly are here because we care,” said Greiter, ISU Police’s community outreach specialist.

Inspiration for the campaign comes from University of Wisconsin-Madison’s 2014 “Tell Us” campaign, which encourages students to report sexual assault cases to law enforcement.

ISU Police wanted the message to relate to the ISU community, so they decided to adopt “We Care” after considering Iowa State’s Principles of Community.

“We Care; Please Tell Us” is not only about sexual assault; it covers all crimes.

ISU Police wants students to look out for one another. A great way to do that, Greiter said, is reporting crime so that perpetrators may be investigated and stopped from harming the community.

Another method of crime prevention ISU Police promotes is educating students so they will know how to react when they or someone they know are victimized in a crime.

ISU Police’s previous “Start By Believing” campaign provides tips and guidelines for bystanders in the wake of a sexual assault.

Greiter believes that “Start By Believing” has encouraged students to contact police in instances of sexual assault.

“We’ve heard from a lot of people that report that they either saw ISU PD or a sexual assault response team present [the ‘Start By Believing’ campaign] at one of their classes, or for their residence group, or they had a friend that did and that encouraged them to seek out resources,” Greiter said.   

“We Care; Please Tell Us” goes beyond just the reporting of crimes. ISU Police encourages students to ask for emergency assistance if they ever need it, even if they feel uncomfortable making the call.

Greiter gave the example of a student who has been drinking underage and someone they are with needs emergency medical attention, they should call for help without hesitation.

ISU Police officers prioritize safety over minor offenses; Students should not feel pressured to avoid help due to the fear of being punished, Greiter said.

ISU Police would like to see “We Care; Please Tell Us” grow in the future.

“It doesn’t have to be reporting crime, necessarily,” Greiter said. “We could spread this ‘We Care’ message throughout the university … and it could be something that’s embraced university wide.”

ISU Police released a promo video for the campaign on their Twitter and Instagram. They also posted a photo on Instagram encouraging students to contact officer Greiter if they are interested in promoting “We Care; Please Tell Us.”

Officer Greiter said he wants ISU students to remember this: “‘We Care’ is not just a catchphrase. It’s truly a way of life that our officers have, because we’re dedicated to this community as part of it.”