Hammel pushes for more lights

The university, along with the FAMU Police Department, is in the process of increasing campus lighting and possibly adding more blue emergency lights to ensure security.

The lack of lighting around campus at night, especially in construction areas, prompted Student Government Association President Andre Hammel to take FAMU PD Deputy Chief John Earst on a tour of the university to demonstrate the need for additional lighting.

Hammel said he was able to show Deputy Chief Earst the instant need for additional lighting by touring the campus at night.

“The survey also helped to determine where the additional lighting would actually exist,” Hammel said. “Initially, there were only going to be 11 lights installed, but after the tour SGA was able to acquire a total of 17 new lights to be placed in the appropriate areas.”

Chief Mike Wallace said there is also a possibility of adding 12 new blue emergency lights but he is not sure where they will be placed.

“The university is currently looking at funds, lighting structures and ongoing construction projects around campus to determine a possibility of installing more blue emergency lights,” Wallace said.

There are 23 blue emergency lights installed throughout campus, including the Set, the front entrance of Tucker Hall and around Paddyfote and Truth halls.

The system is designed for students, staff and faculty to contact FAMU PD by pressing a button in the event of an emergency. A signal is then sent to the FAMU PD substation. At the station, the officer on duty is able to identify the exact location of the system. An officer is immediately sent to the system and the surrounding areas.

The blue lights also have the capability to reach an ambulance for a medical emergency.

Wallace said additional blue emergency lights would help to cut down on campus crime.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime statistics show 281 criminal offenses were reported to FAMU PD from January-June 2002. Offenses such as larceny are currently up 32.1 percent.

Some students said they do not feel safe on campus at night despite the emergency lights.

“I don’t feel they (blue lights) are reliable because I had a friend playing around who pushed the button and we stayed to see who would come. No one showed up,” said Tiffany Pope, 20, a sophomore business administration student from Jacksonville.

“I feel safe on campus but they (FAMU PD) could enhance security at night,” Pope said.

Wallace said blue emergency lights are important since police officers cannot be everywhere all the time.

“They are a vital part of the crime prevention efforts for the campus.”