Written by Ladaezjah Warrens, Staff Writer
Jason Morton, one of the candidates for Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police, presents the characteristics or values he believes a police department should exhibit to a campus and some ways to implement them here at Valdosta State University.
Starting first as a student employee, Morton has been with the Milton Tennessee State University police department for over 20 years and has worked in various aspects of the police department including, but not limited to: communications area dispatch, patrol officer and patrol supervisor, as well as being involved with investigations and training.
“I think the agency needs to be transparent, community-oriented, service driven, a professional and ethical department, and accredited,” Morton said.
Morton reflected that the department needs to have specific polices, standards, and rules to follow to ensure they are performing to the best of their capabilities. He especially emphasizes this when discussing touchy areas such as use of force.
Furthermore, Morton discussesd some ways to involve the community to better campus safety and satisfaction. He hopes to implement “lighting surveys” to address concerns about areas that students feel do not have enough light and are unsafe.
He also discussed an “accessible complaint process” and revealed that if citizens have a complaint with the police department, he wanted to hear about it so that the situation can be addressed properly.
He really capitalized on the importance of building a relationship with the community and “getting out of the patrol car.”
When talking about officers he encourages them to encompass the idea that, “in the eyes of a citizen, you are not just a uniform.”
He sent the message to VSU students, in light of recent vandalism events and any other unsafe situation that, “it requires a lot of give and take. Students need to be able to tell the police department what their concerns are and what’s wrong.
He recalled that every officer he has met says they got into this line of work because they want to help people.
To students he implored them to tell the police department what the problems are even if they are not police related.