FAMU PD awarded for school safety

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum awarded the FAMU Department of Public Safety with commendation on March 27 at the capitol building. The department earned commendation for the use of the University’s e2Campus alert system in alerting users of a recent shooting incident on campus and for the department’s response to the incident.

Calvin Ross, chief of police at FAMU, said he was very pleased with the honor from the attorney general.

“I felt that the honor was due the officers that responded, and I was grateful – and as chief, I was there to receive it on behalf of the officers.”

In addition, Ross said McCollum wanted to recognize the response of the FAMU Department of Public Safety in a positive light that is contrary to some media coverage of the University as a whole.

“Whenever, there is problems associated with the University, the media reports it,” Ross said. “He (McCollum) wanted to make sure that because something was done well, they reported that also.”

The commendation has garnered the FAMU Department of Public Safety accolades from another collegiate police chief in Tallahassee.

E.E. Eunice, acting police chief at Tallahassee Community College, said he feels as though the commendation was due to the FAMU police department for an efficient job well done.

“I think Chief Ross and the support staff did a great job in responding to the incident and apprehending the suspect,” Eunice said.

As a result of the shooting incident on campus, not only has the department of public safety received the commendation, but the e2Campus emergency alert system has grown in usership.

The FAMU e2Campus system administrator Cpl. Sherri Luke said that within hours of the shooting incident, 130 people had registered with the e2Campus system.

“I love the system, I absolutely love the system,” she said.

E2campus is the emergency communication system utilized at FAMU, Florida State University, TCC and more than 500 universities.

The system, that is open to anyone, not just students, is used to notify users of any possible danger that may affect their respective campus.

Ross said the purpose of the system at FAMU is “to alert the FAMU community of any potential threats, be it natural or manmade.”

Persons registered with e2Campus at FAMU are alerted of any threats via cell phone text message and e-mail.

However, Ross said there will be advancements to the system. There will be a new implementation that will convert the text into a voice message so that users may be telephoned. In addition Ross said, “We are also pursuing putting intercoms in classrooms. We want instant messages.”

Currently there are 2,674 users registered on the FAMU e2Campus system. However, Luke said she would like to see more students registered.

“The system is only as big as the number of users it has,” Luke said. “I hope that when it gets connected with registration, it will be a big plus.”

According to Luke, the e2Campus system was implemented at FAMU on June 25, 2006, and costs the University $9500, annually. It was secured through a federal Homeland Security grant.

Luke, who is “extremely pleased” with the e2Campus system, urges students to register. Registration for the e2Campus system can be done on the University Web site, www.famu.edu.