Florida A&M University’s Department of Parking Services and Department of Public Safety have united in an effort to become more efficient.
Parking services began moving their operations into the Department of Public Safety headquarters, at 2400 Wahnish Way, late last month. Interim President Castell V. Bryant mandated the merger May 2005.
Police Chief Calvin Ross said, “The merger of the two departments has raised the level of efficiency and reduces costs of facilitation.”
Ross said the newly merged department has put together a traffic unit composed of two motor units and four police service technicians. The police service technicians are former parking patrollers who have been trained as police service technicians to become part of the traffic unit.
The unit is responsible for smooth traffic movement throughout the campus while still ticketing or towing vehicles. This means FAMU police officers are writing parking tickets now.
“With the assistance of law enforcement officers, we are enforcing things that would not normally be enforced,” said Assistant Police Chief of Public Safety James Lockley Jr.
Now, owners of vehicles towed on campus must go to the Department of Public Safety building to find out where their vehicle has been towed. During that process, the vehicle owner’s drivers license will be scanned to determine if there are any accumulated violations, like warrants or a suspension of the license, so law enforcement action can be taken immediately.
FAMU’s law enforcement officers are cracking down on vehicles, whether the vehicle belongs to a student, faculty member or the state, parked illegally on campus, Lockley said.
“We have contacted all of the departments to make them aware of our plans so we can be fair to everyone,” Lockley said.
Plans for new systems are being taken into consideration because of the merger, such as a communication mobile unit that will be a multi-purpose vehicle meant to disseminate public safety, law enforcement and parking services information to students, visitors and staff.
Also, there are plans to upgrade parking lots so it will be easier to decipher areas that students, faculty and visitors are allowed to park in without being ticketed.
“We’re working on a system of color-coded maps and signs for the parking lots,” Ross said.
And Lockley added that, “So far, the merger has been a happy marriage between the two departments.”
Although the parking department’s move has been an easy process for employees, some students are not as happy.
“I don’t like the fact that parking is further away from campus; it’s not as convenient,” said Rodney Thompson, 21, a criminal justice student from Miami.
The parking information center on Gamble Street and FAMU Road will be turned into a welcome center for visitors and new students.
The move to the DPS headquarters is expected to be finished by the end of the month.
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