FAMU police face disdain

The Florida A&M University Police Department said it does everything in its power to keep the campus safe; however, some students disagree.

One of the students harboring a complaint is the victim of last Thursday’s robbery near the Palmetto area. The victim, who chose not to be named for fear of retaliation, said he felt his case was not treated seriously.

“This is my first semester here – I got robbed by gunpoint and jewelry was taken,” the victim said, “They (FAMU PD) made it feel like it was normal to get robbed.”

Despite the complaints Lt. Angela Kirkland of FAMU PD said the department takes all cases seriously, whether it’s a fire alarm or burglary.

“Every case is investigated,” Kirkland said. “It’s up to the officer that initiates the investigation to make the classification.”

The victim said after he was robbed he followed the person who robbed him from a distance to Palm Beach apartments. He then called FAMU PD but said they did nothing to apprehend the robber.

“A retired police officer was the witness,” the victim said. “He told the police officer he (the robber) ran into the third floor of the apartments – why was FAMU PD at the scene of the incident and let him get away?”

Despite the information given about the robber being on the third floor, Kirkland said the officers did not have enough probable cause.

“They were not in fresh pursuit,” she said. “In this case, you cannot just bust through someone’s door. You have to have probable cause, proof that the individual (who) committed the crime is there.”

Last Thursday’s robbery victim is not the only student who feels that FAMU PD is not providing quality safety.

Martesha Williams, 21, a junior political science student from Fort Lauderdale, had her car broken into and her car radio taken last year in the parking garage. Williams said she feels campus is unsafe.

“I don’t think FAMU PD is doing too well. It took them an hour to get to my car,” she said. “When they came all they did was look. They didn’t even try to investigate it. He just wrote down the report and that was all I heard from him.”

The victim of last Thursday’s robbery said the police didn’t investigate his case, either.

“When I left, they didn’t give me a police report or a case number,” the victim said. “They’re contacting me six days later for information.”

Kirkland said these are unusual police responses but she can understand students’ opinions of campus safety.

“Their reality is sometimes justified, but statistically we do not have very much crime,” she said. “FAMU has declined this year in criminal activity.”

Regardless of this claim some students are still skeptical.

“It’s too many robberies going on,” Williams said. “When I was a freshman, we would go to the library at 12 (a.m.) or 1 (a.m.) and not feel like we’re going to get robbed. Now I wouldn’t walk around campus at that time anymore.”

Kirkland said a factor for the crime on campus could be that there are not enough police officers on campus.

“I do feel that we need additional officers, but we are working towards it,” Kirkland said. “We are still recruiting officers.”

Last Thursday’s robbery victim said it is upsetting to know that members of FAMU PD were uniformed about the incident when he called after seeing the robber walking on campus.

“I saw the guy walking to Palm Beach apartments again,” the victim said. “Then I called FAMU PD, they don’t know nothing about the robbery Thursday. If I wouldn’t have caught him Monday, (there is) no telling how many people would have got robbed.”