UNA police to change location, upgrade technology

UNA police Chief Bob Pastula tours the new police station which will be housed in the basement of Keller Hall. The UNA police department was housed in Keller Hall until 1973 when they decided to move the current location on Waterloo Road.

The UNA police department will be in a new location next year. It will move from its current location since 1973 on Waterloo Road to the basement of Keller Hall over the summer.

The police department is totally revamping its communication systems and police station, UNA police Chief Bob Pastula said. He hopes to have the department moved into its new location before students return for the fall semester.

“We wanted to keep the police more centered to the campus,” said David Shields, vice president of student affairs.

The new space, more advanced technology and central location will create a presence on campus, Shields said.

Shields and Pastula are both excited about the station’s major crisis communications center and the services it will be able to provide to students in case of a major emergency on campus or in the area.

The new station will be completely equipped with new offices for officers, sergeants and other staff members. The current location does not have the office space the new station has. In addition to office space, the station will house a dispatcher office, which will be a new feature to the police department.

Pastula expects to hire eight to 10 students to be dispatchers in the station. The new dispatchers will allow UNA police to dispatch their own officers. Currently, officers are dispatched from the Lauderdale County 911 center, but in the future officers will be dispatched from the new station.

“We can add, build and grow from this,” Shields said.

“I think we were so far behind when I first got here,” Pastula said.

Pastula feels as though the new station and the technology it brings will not only provide a safer campus, but allow students to interact with the police department more.

“Since the officers are [on campus] they are a little bit closer to what is going on,” Pastula said. “[The new police station] makes us look more and more professional. The station allows us to provide more of a service to students.”

Pastula said the new station allows students to interact more easily with the UNA police department. He admitted that the old location was driving distance from UNA, but the new station will give the department more visibility on campus.

“The officers are getting a lot more training,” Pastula said.

Pastula and Shields both said the number one goal they have is to have a top-notch police force. This goal has been a priority for both of them since they came to UNA.

Pastula also announced UNA police will be operating a substation in the lobby of Rice Hall beginning in the fall. This will allow officers to be on the other side of campus as well as in the Harrison Plaza area.

The UNA police department will be adding cameras around campus and in the GUC to monitor what is going on throughout the day and night at UNA, Pastula said. These cameras will be monitored by the police dispatchers and will allow them to dispatch officers without having to be called by students.

“[The camera system] gives us the ability to have a watch of what’s going on around campus and gives us control over what’s on around campus,” Pastula said.