Lexington Police Chief talks off campus safety


Lexington Police Chief Mark Barnard speaks to the media Monday, Sept. 19, before privately meeting at St. Augustine’s Chapel in Lexington, Ky., with local residents to talk about concerns of an alleged serial rapist on UK’s campus. Photo by Joshua Qualls | Staff

By McKenna Horsley

A small group of UK students asked Lexington Police Chief Mark Barnard how safe they are off campus and how they can protect themselves on Monday evening.  

A post that said a serial rapist was near campus circulated on social media Wednesday evening. Another post said the suspect was on campus and some dorms were on lockdown. UK Public Relations told the Kentucky Kernel Thursday morning that no dorms were disrupted. 

St. Augustine’s Chapel invited Barnard to speak with students so they can learn safety tips and be more cautious.  

Four Lexington police bike officers have been added to South Limestone and Maxwell Street, Barnard said. Those officers also work with existing neighborhood officers and meet with businesses on Limestone about any safety concerns, he said.

“You have to realize you’re in college, so you think you’re invincible sometimes, but when you’re out you have to be careful whether you are at a party or whether you are walking in these areas that you should always be careful,” Barnard said. 

He also said students should use a buddy system when they go out, know where they are going and be aware of their surroundings. 

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Friday that Lexington police asked UK to issue an alert related to an August attempted sexual assault, but UK did not until after the incorrect social media post. 

Barnard said Monday that Lexington police has a system with UK where the university can see a crime log of incidents around campus. He also said the university has access to Lexington police’s radio channel and the university receives a list of the calls every morning. 

Lexington police work with UK police more than any other agency since their patrol areas are so close, Barnard said.  

“If it’s involving something around the campus that we feel like may be a threat that goes on campus, our duty commanders make those notifications to them [UK] at their dispatch center,” he said.