FAMU’s campus safety could see an increase

Florida A&M University has received a nod of approval on a campus safety plan worth more than $486,000, which includes hiring six officers and three dispatchers over the next three years to improve campus safety.

The plan, which was discussed Nov. 8-9 at the Florida Board of Governors’ meeting, was requested by governors to enhance safety at each of the state’s public universities. The BOG completed the first step by approving the plan. Now, the plans will be presented to FAMU’s trustees in the Nov. 30 meeting.
"These are important initiatives for our students and university employees and I am glad to see the universities stepping up,” said Ned Lautenbach, co-chairman of the BOG Budget and Finance Committee.

According to the campus safety enhancement plan, the goal of hiring additional officers and staff are to support the University’s ongoing efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

“As an employee and former student, I have noticed that many students feel uncomfortable leaving campus at night,” said Rasheedat McKay, the insurance coordinator at Student Health Services. “I remember the police department used to have positions for students to be ‘neighborhood watchmen’ having the students involved in the safety of our campus will have them more engaged.”

The FAMU Department of Campus Safety Security will be able to increase the numbers of officers and certified dispatchers per shift by one, allowing for there to be 24/7 coverage on campus. The hiring of additional officers will place FAMU police officers slightly above the International Association of Chiefs of Police standard for community-orientated policing ratio of two officers per 1,000 students (2: 1,000).

Maia Washington, a sophomore psychology major at Florida A&M University, believes that, “An increase in security would be great. The campus can always improve on security.”

Washington added that she only notices police presence during the day and rarely at night when social events are going on.

The increase in officers will reassure students that their safety is the university’s main priority, dispute the time of day.

The BOG’s budget and finance committee overall public safety plan for 2017-2018 calls for the hiring of  24 additional officers and a total of 90 additional officers over the next five years.

They would also like to provide additional funding for: emergency phones (additional and replacements), cameras around campuses, training equipment, vehicles, gear and improvements to communication systems.

The total cost to fund six additional officers and three dispatchers and associated personnel equipment-gear will be $486,750. The funds will be provided from vacant lines, parking services (auxiliary) and budget requests.