POSTED: Friday, February 21, 2014 - 6:01pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 21, 2014 - 7:39pm
Tyler , TX (KETK) — Some students at UT Tyler have concerns about campus safety.They have taken those concerns to the university police department. The campus police department has security cameras, emergency phones and other safety measure to to help make the students feel safe. But, some feel it's not enough.
One student said they already have a campus alert system set up. You can sign up and get a text message or email telling you if there is an intruder on campus or if you need to be aware of something going on. But, they say they want something that will reach out to more students.A lot of students are also concerned about some of the residents that live at the apartments near by. A couple years ago, on campus, a student was attacked by three people.Students want to make sure there is more police presence at night and that the campus pathways and parking lots are well lit.
"Prevention and being prepared are the best things you can do in that kind of situation," said president of Student Government Association Michael Suarez.
The Student Government Association meets with the campus police every year to go over what the police can upgrade or change to make the university safer.
"Anytime there is that kind of situation, there is going to be more of a threat involved," said Suarez.
Also, some students have seen coyotes and fear this can grow into a bigger issue.
"I think he's approached a couple of runners a couple of times so obviously that's a concern when you have wildlife like that approaching our students," said Suarez.
The UT Tyler police were not able to speak on camera, but they sent us this statement.
For Immediate Release For More Information Contact:
February 21, 2014 Hannah Buchanan, 903.565.5769
STATEMENT FROM MIKE MEDDERS, UT TYLER CHIEF OF POLICE, REGARDING SGA’S SAFETY CONCERNS:
“Campus safety and security is our highest priority, and we regularly work with groups across campus, such as the Student Government Association, to address the concerns of the students. The SGA Safety Walk gives our officers an opportunity to receive input from students about any concerns that may have, and for our officers to see those concerns first-hand as they tour the campus together. This has worked well and we plan to continue to partner with the SGA in keeping our campus safe.
As to our video surveillance system, UT Tyler dispatchers, who are on duty 24/7, are able to monitor the security cameras across campus in real-time, as well as searching already recorded surveillance footage when the need arises. As an example, during our full scale exercise conducted in December, our dispatchers were able to locate the "suspect" on campus at various locations. We also identify areas on campus where it may be advantageous to add cameras, and we received suggestions from the SGA during the walk. Although video surveillance is only one aspect of our overall security plan for the campus, we strive to ensure that the system works well. When there are issues, we have a service contract with our vendor to take care of those issues as quickly as possible.
The SGA also expressed concerns of reported coyote sightings at various locations on campus. We have worked with TP&W on this issue, and we realize that with wooded areas, we have wildlife, and there are going to be occasional sightings. Normally, these animals do not want contact with humans, any more than we want contact with them. We work closely with TP&W, as well as the City of Tyler, in addressing animals that do become a safety issue.
Concerns were expressed by the SGA about parking lot 18. This particular lot is in a wooded area, but the university has done a good job of raising the canopy on the trees to provide greater visibility. Lot 18 is currently under-utilized and Ornelas Hall students are not required to park there, as it is not their assigned lot. As with all areas of campus, our officers regularly patrol the lot. For the safety of those that do utilize the lot, we have an emergency blue light phone at the entrance.
We thank the Student Government Association for all that they do and we look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with them,” said Mike Medders, UT Tyler police chief.