MSU-Meridian police presence enhanced in downtown Meridian

Lt. Breonne Spikes talks with Natasha Major, a student of MSU-Meridian’s Master of Physician Assistant Studies program in downtown Meridian. As the campus evolves in the downtown area, MSU-Meridian police are taking a proactive approach to student safety with the recently begun “Don’t Walk Alone” program.Contact: Marianne Todd

MERIDIAN, Miss.—Students, faculty and visitors to Mississippi State University-Meridian’s Riley Campus are seeing an increased security presence as MSU’s “Don’t Walk Alone” program extends to downtown Meridian, providing officer escort support and encouraging more direct communication with students.

Between dusk and 10 p.m., MSU-Meridian police and security are available at (601) 934-0863 to walk anyone on the Riley Campus of MSU-Meridian to their car or apartment.

The Riley Campus comprises the MSU Riley Center, the Deen Building and the Rosenbaum Building, all situated on 5th and 6th streets between 22nd and 23rd avenues.

Parking lot escort services also are available at the College Park Campus on Highway 19 North.

Even if students, faculty or visitors do not feel the need for an escort, campus police ask that they check in at the Deen Building security desk during these hours to raise awareness of where people are moving.

“We can’t see you if you don’t report to the desk,” said Lt. Breonne Spikes. “So, make sure you report to the police desk as you leave the building. Often, I will just take off and walk behind them. I would rather be proactive than reactive.”

Terry Dale Cruse, associate vice president and MSU-Meridian head of campus, said as the downtown campus evolves with more students entering the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program, the awaited Master of Science in Nursing program and the planned MSU-Meridian Behavioral Health Center, more students will be walking about campus.

Security is at the forefront of that evolution, Cruse said.

“Providing a safe campus for students, faculty and visitors is of paramount importance, and having a strong police presence, a dedicated security force and a proactive plan for the protection and welfare of anyone who steps foot on our campus, accomplishes that goal,” Cruse said.

Cruse said plans are in the works to add more officers to the campus police unit.

Plans also include deputizing campus officers to broaden MSU-Meridian police jurisdiction in downtown Meridian, Spikes said, where campus police are often confused with security officers.

“We are the real police. We have the same arresting authority,” she said. “And we work with local authorities.”

Spikes has worked in several police roles since starting at MSU in 2013, ranging from patrol to investigations. 

MSU-Meridian currently has four full-time police officers, a part-time police officer and two security guards.

Spikes, who taught self-defense courses after her shift at the Picayune Police Department before coming to MSU, said there has been a high level of interest among students desiring to learn self-protection.

“We raised the question during orientation that if we did teach a self-defense class, how many students would be interested,” Spikes said. “Ninety-five percent of the class raised their hands.”

Spikes said her desire to protect people was cultivated through her years of service as a jailer and then a law enforcement officer.

“Don’t be afraid to call us or talk to us,” Spikes said. “We’re here to serve and protect.”

Mississippi State University is taking care of what matters. MSU-Meridian is online at

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