Officials offer services to increase campus safety

SNAP member Tyrie Fletcher patrols campus in a university police golf cart. 

Safety on campus is an important part of a good college experience. With a fully staffed, on-campus police department and the support of university faculty and staff, UNA takes pride in keeping its students safe.

University police Chief Bob Pastula is at the forefront of campus safety. Along with his staff, programs have been created and maintained with student safety in mind. From bus routes to alleviate traffic on campus to personal escorts between 8 p.m and 2 a.m., UNA’s police officers have taken charge in protecting students.

“New students on campus should familiarize themselves with the facilities and just be aware of their surroundings,” Pastula said. “Just use sound judgment and be aware.”

A robbery in the parking deck during the spring 2012 semester raised some concern on campus.

“The parking deck is safe, and we do have officers that patrol it regularly,” Pastula said. “Students should keep an eye on their surroundings and lock their doors.”

LionAlert is a program that students must sign up for. Once a student receives LionAlerts, they will be sent text messages, phone calls or emails from UNA concerning inclement weather, crime or any other urgent messages the school needs to communicate to students.

Feeling safe on campus can change for some students during the evening hours. UNA offers blue phone stations around campus as well as personal escorts—part of UNA’s Student Nighttime Auxillary Patrol (SNAP)—at night from UNA police.

UNA student Garrett Stone said he feels safe in general but that it might be different for female students.

“As a guy I have never felt unsafe on campus—even at night—but my girlfriend might not feel as safe about going up to the library late at night by herself,” Stone said. “I don’t think it would be a bad idea for UNA police to have more of a presence on campus.”

Alexandra O’Steen, a senior, said she feels no real threat when she is on campus.

“I’m a pretty paranoid person, but I can’t really think of a time that I have felt uncomfortable or unsafe while being on campus,” O’Steen said. “I used to spend a lot of time at the library at night, and that didn’t really bother me.”

Pastula said the best advice to incoming students is to use common sense.

“Common sense goes a long way in staying safe,” Pastula said. “If a student is going to drink, then they should get (a) designated driver. But they should know that walking home after drinking is not very safe or smart either.”

“Florence is a safe town, but it does have its crime,” O’Steen said. “The best thing to do is travel in groups and keep an eye out for each other.”