Police get new fleet

The FAMU Police Department has ordered five new vehicles because of a shortage of transportation. The new cars will be 2000 and 2001 models of the Crown Victoria Interceptor and will include updated technology, and current vehicles will be repainted with a new design that was created by a FAMU professor.

Lt. Norman Rollins, FAMU PD patrol commander, took part in deciding to get the new vehicles. He said the department needed more cars because of the conditions of the current ones.

“The vehicles are shared,” Rollins said. “One vehicle may be used up to 10 hours traveling time. Now, imagine that every day.” He said sharing the vehicles affects their conditions and causes additional wear and tear.

The new vehicles will have updated technology that will aid the officers in completing their duties.

But students aren’t sure cars are where FAMU PD should be focusing its money and attention right now.

Jermaine Johnson, a senior psychology and sociology student from Tampa, has mixed feelings on the decision to get new vehicles. He said getting the new cars is OK, but others issues need to be addressed.

“Getting new cars is fine if it helps them do a better job,” he said.

But he added that robbery is a more pressing issue the department needs to address. He recalled an instance where one of his friends was held at gunpoint and other students who had their laptops stolen. Johnson said he hopes the new cars will improve the response time of the department when crimes are reported.

“At the beginning of every semester people are getting robbed,” Johnson said. He suggested the department have a seminar to speak to freshman about theft on campus, which may help crime prevention.

Another student said security should take priority when the department decides to spend money.

“Ultimately, the money should be used to protect the safety of the students,” said Tony Cooper, a pharmacy candidate from Philadelphia.

One student said parking is still an issue on campus that has not been resolved.

“We need a new parking garage before they get new cars for the police,” said Alta Cherisca, a 22-year-old senior political science student. “We’re still lacking parking spaces.”

Funding for the vehicles comes from the department’s budget set each fiscal year, Rollins said.

“We have a set bracket each year and we look into the budget for some needs and conditioning,” he said.

DeUnique Gant, 20, a biology student, said she was unaware there was a need to use the vehicles that much on campus. “I didn’t know that much goes on campus,” Gant said.” If it’s to keep us safe then it’s a good thing.”

Gant would also like to see safety improvements from the police department. She said there should be more emergency poles around campus, which should be checked regularly to know if they are working properly.

Gant experienced a malfunction with an emergency pole on one occasion. She said she pressed the buttons to call in, but the apparatus just kept “making a noise.”

In addition, Gant said she would like to see surveillance cameras in the parking lots.

Ron James, a graphic arts and communications student, created the new design for the police vehicles.

“We try to use our own when we get new designs,” Rollins said.The new vehicles are set to arrive sometime in April.