Recent shootings and the conversation on sexual assault have raised questions amongst students and administrators of Grambling State University.
SGA Vice President Kyla Nelson, and chair of SGA Safety and Grievances Dhara Richardson hosted a discussion on the upcoming plans of the university’s police department.
Also there was Director of Media Relations Jovan Hackley, who offered some thoughts on the topics at hand.
Upon arrival, students turned in their thoughts and opinions of police interaction that transpired into a much needed talk between both sides. GSU Police Chief Carlos Kelly responded to them and released statements relating to the departments changes. The police department anticipates new initiatives as a response to the rise of concerns on campus.
For instance, a safety plan for the estimated attendance of 50,000 people for Homecoming. Kelly said GSUPD will have “bike officers for quicker responses.” The police department will also field plainclothes officers.
“I’m putting together what they call a field force team, and this team will be designated in different spots throughout the campus,” Kelly said.
GSUPD will also be undergoing upgrades. The department’s move to a new headquarters will allow for expansions to police operations on one side, and a patrol side for squad training and briefs on the other. Updated equipment and the addition of a state-of-the-art dispatch center aims to increase their effectiveness in the campus community. Officers will now wear bodycams.
In the next 30 days, Kelly said, GSU can expect to see brand new 2018 and 2019 Dodge Chargers in place of the outdated police cruisers currently in use. Training initiatives are already underway.
“They have all been trained by federal government incident command 100 and 200,” Kelly said. “I’m scheduling after the New Year to have someone from Homeland Security to do some training with us for incident command 300.”
By January 1st, campus is expected to have a total 25 officers, 2 detectives, and the new man in charge himself, GSU PD Police Chief Carlos Kelly.
“For the most part this is an exciting time for the police department,” Kelly said. “Morale is high, I’m happy, I’m excited.”
After delivering the plans for GSU’s police department, Kelly answered the grievances of students in the audience. Savannah Charles, president of the NAACP at GSU, collected everyone’s questions and statements, and read them aloud to the Chief for answering. Questions ranged from “what will the department do to ensure officers worked morally while on duty,” students knowing their rights and how to confront traffic stops and the differences between “probable cause” and “reasonable suspicion” and “snitching” versus being a concerned citizen.
Students biggest concern has been the enforcement of the Visitation Policy, a policy that has been here prior to Kelly’s employment. Kelly assured that he read all of the schools policies and procedure as it pertains to students and faculty of Grambling State University.
According to Kelly, students are asked not to get upset when they’re asked to show ID, as GSU PD is only ensuring those at Grambling are supposed to be at Grambling.
Media Relations Director Hackney added that students should check the Student Code of Conduct for more information regarding the safety precautions on campus.
“There is a clause in there that says that any university official can ask anyone on campus to identify themselves, and that is in the interest of safety, number one, and the fact that safety here is collaborative… our chief goal is protection to make sure that you’re safe,” Hackley said.
Hackley also addressed alleged harassment of students from campus police and reportedly less than pleasant attitudes when approaching students. He said that sometimes, there is a misconception of what the duties are as a police officer. Hackley added that he does not believe any of the officers aim to harass students. In regards to the response time, Hackley said it has actually increased since his employment, and with the new vehicles, timing will get even better.
Students are encouraged to contact GSU PD at email@example.com for more information on campus police activities, upcoming changes , and to express any other concerns.