FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – A rash of recent crime at the University of North Alabama sparked concern. Students got frustrated when a Lion Alert went out nearly two days after an alleged rape on campus.
Now an officer has been appointed to focus on every sexual assault case.
“I thought this would be a better way to handle it then the way we were doing it,” said Chief Bob Pastula.
As part of the department for nearly a decade, Officer Shequanda Jenkins has been appointed to the position.
Jenkins has strong ties to Rape Response and the Women’s Center on Campus.
“Emotionally it affects them, physically it affects them, so the emotional trauma of the incident is huge and a lot of time, it’s life changing,” said Officer Jenkins.
Now if a sexual attack is ever reported on campus, Officer Jenkins will be called right away to assist the first responders and then to help the victims.
“It takes a lot of care and compassion, and just being sympathetic with our victims,” said Jenkins.
Officer Jenkins says the new duty is an honor, but wishes there wasn`t a need for this type of position.
However, Jenkins agrees this new role with the department, is a progressive step in keeping students safe.
The University Police chief says very few colleges have an investigator designated to sexual attacks on campus.
“I`m hoping it puts the victims at ease and I`m hoping it helps the community feel a little bit more secure that we`re taking steps to improve the way we do business here,” said Chief Pastula.