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McKinney: VSU plans to hire private security firm

written by: Will Lewis

VSU is considering hiring a private security firm to assist University police, according to President William McKinney.

“What we need are additional eyes and an additional presence,” Dr. McKinney said. “Not necessarily additional armed police but additional security guards that work with our police.”

The security personnel are expected to be active and visible sometime in March.

“It is absolutely antithetical to the learning mission of the university if you’re, obviously, always having to think about the amount of safety,” Dr. McKinney said. “If you’re thinking about looking over your shoulder, it’s pretty hard to focus on learning.”

The security will be uniformed but unarmed. They will work directly with the University police and other programs, like the Student Patrol at night.

“My priorities are pretty simple; safety is first, academics is second, everything else comes third,” Dr. McKinney said.

The agenda for today’s Faculty Senate meeting mentions that, “the ideal ratio appears to be three officers for every 1,000 students. Considering that we have about 12,000 students, the size of our police force is rather small.”

Dr. McKinney said that he is aware of the low number of VSUPD officers.

The “ideal” numbers presented in the agenda would mandate a minimum of 36 officers on campus.

The VSUPD already regularly patrols campus, but the agenda says “these patrols are mainly done by car but may also be done on foot.”

VSU is a no-driving campus, which may explain the low amount of police presence mentioned in the committee’s report.

The addition comes after a recent streak of violent crime that has plagued VSU’s campus. The student body has endured an armed kidnapping, murder and the non-fatal stabbing of a student last semester.

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