FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - With bomb scares, sexual assault, and unidentified packages, the University of North Alabama has seen its share of news headlines in the last couple of years.
The University is implementing a new safety program designed to help the crime rate drop dramatically. Simply put, it puts more boots on the ground.
Six months ago, while crime seemed to be running rampant, 11 new officers had just started their training.
“We did put them out a little bit early because of all the stuff that was going on, on campus,” said UNA Police Chief Robert Pastula. “They helped immensely there.”
Chief Pastula says the new reserves and part-time officers have helped calm the fears of students and faculty.
With no set schedule, Pastula says the 11 officers hold the element of surprise.
School leaders say the new officers are able to patrol the campus at all hours of the day and night, deterring the criminal element.
“That’s our overall objective is to keep people safe, and feeling safe as well as really actually being safe,” Pastula explained. “As long as they have that feeling that they're safe, and I think when they see more police officers out roaming around, it makes them feel more safe.”
Chief Pastula says the new officers can be called in to work any kind of emergency situation the university may encounter.
Five of the new officers on the University of North Alabama Campus are retired police officers from other departments.
With their certification, those officers hold the same arrest powers as any other full-time patrol officer.