More University Police?
In light of the shootings at Virginia Tech, the board voted Thursday to ask the state legislature for 3.5 million dollars to hire more police and mental health counselors and shore up emergency notification systems.
Ed Poppell, who oversees UF's police department, says the current 90-man force is more than adequate for the 60-thousand students and staff on campus every day. But he adds it would be great to have money for more officers.
"This is very important," says Poppell. "We've always been had a very high standard of safety and security on this campus and all the campuses in the state of Florida. I think we are learning new lessons and we need to evaluate our current plans and update them."
Students seemed to agree that they felt safe on campus.
"I definitely feel like it's very secure," says senior Journalism major Melissa Berlin. "I've had a couple minor incidents when i've needed security or police attention and they've been very prompt to come help."
But not every thought adding more police would be a good idea.
"If doing their job is giving cyclists tickets, they are doing a great job," says senior English major Michael Espinosa. "If doing their job is providing safety for the students, then i believe they need to start prioritizing and take a step back."
The Board of Governors is also asking each university to review how they intervene to help troubled students. Patricia Telles-Irvin, UF's Vice President of Student Affairs estimates the school has about 25 counselors. She says a review of practices is always a good idea in light of what happened at Virginia Tech.
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News
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