GVPD accumulates, reuses lost and found items

GVL / Eric Coulter
Lost USB drives are one among many of items that are forgotten by students and end up in the lost and found.

Eric Coulter

GVL / Eric Coulter Lost USB drives are one among many of items that are forgotten by students and end up in the lost and found.

Rachel Cross

The Grand Valley Police Department’s lost and found, located in Grand Valley State University’s Department of Public Safety, acts as the university’s catch-all for lost items on the Allendale Campus. “We are the keepers of lost and found for the whole university,” said Julie Carbine, GVPD dispatch coordinator in Allendale. “There are 24,000 students who go here so when you consider that just imagine how much stuff we receive.” Cabrine said one of the most valuable items collected is a flash drive, and the department collects about 300 of them each month.

Most of the time, there is some sort of identification information on the flash drives and DPS can email students who have lost their devices. Carbine said any item that holds personal information or value, such as classroom papers, social security information or electronics, are held at the office for six months. With regards to any flash drives that go unclaimed, she said GVPD works hard to make sure are they’re all recycled and reused through the university’s information technology department.

“We do a secure data wipe of flash drives prior to use,” said John Wezemn, help desk supervisor with IT. “This is to ensure that any data that was present on the drives can’t be read or recovered.”
After clearing the data, IT distributes the flash drives to faculty who may need them for seminars and trainings. In addition, Wezeman said some flash drives are distributed to students. “Students can obtain recycled flash drives through the library circulation desk, (so) when (the library has flash drives), a student can come to the desk when needing a drive to transfer a file and have forgotten their own,” Wezeman said. “If a student does have a need for one, we will give them one, they are not generally passed out to anyone who wants one.”

Carbine said DPS donates many lost-and-found items to different organizations as well, including the Office of Student Life, Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life and the Women’s Center. GVPD also donates calculators to the Grand Rapids Public School system for its calculator campaign. “Depending on the item, we send it to particular organizations or charities that are very grateful for our contributions,” Carbine said.

She added that if an item cannot be identified by DPS, students are encouraged to make a lost report. By issuing a lost report, DPS can issue a found report if something is turned in similar to the described item. In addition, she said student identification cards and housing keys all go to the Housing Office so it can identify the key or owner.

Eric Drewry, office coordinator at the Pew Campus Security and Regional Center, said his office operates in a similar fashion as GVPD in Allendale. “I used to be a student worker at the (GVPD) in Allendale, and I have noticed that both campuses have the same lost and found process,” Drewry said. “The struggle we face is that the campus is split into two relatively large campuses, but we are still one university. We try very hard to do things the same across the board.”

Carbine said generally students at GVSU are reliable when it comes to turning in left behind items.
“After four and a half years working in DPS at GVSU, I can say that this school is one of the best places filled with samaritans,” Carbine said. “I can tell you story after story.” She added that working in lost and found isn’t everyone’s favorite task, but it is certainly rewarding when they can return an item to its owner again.

To inquire after a lost item or report a found item, contact the DPS office at 616-331-3255.
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