UAPD Seeks to Increase Number of Officers
The UA Police Department is trying to reach a ratio of 1.5 officers for every 1,000 students, officials said. This puts UAPD on the smaller side, as compared to campus police departments around the country, statistics show.
The difference between most departments and UAPD is that UAPD is an accredited police force, similar to Fayetteville Police Department. This gives them more power and responsibility. They are currently being audited for re-accreditation, Lt. Gary Crain said.
“We’re not really worried about it. We have an outstanding department and everyone does their job. If someone steps out of line, we deal with it immediately,” said UAPD Cpl. Sid Ramirez.
The department always has at least three officers on patrol at a time. With six new officers on staff this year, that is much easier to manage, Crain said.
The UA had 21,405 students enrolled for the 2010-2011 academic year, according to the Office of Institutional Research. That same year, there were 30 UAPD officers, UAPD Lt. Matt Mills said. That is a ratio of 1.4 officers for every 1,000 students.
“This move will help us direct more attention to university preparedness for responding, and recovering from major critical incidents,” Mills said. “This helps provide more coverage for our university as public safety is our number one concern.”
Missouri Southern State University, in Joplin, had 5,702 students enrolled for the 2009-2010 academic year, according to the Department of Higher Education. The MSSU Police Department staff consisted of nine officers, said MSSUPD Chief Ken Kennedy. This is a ratio of 1.6 officers for every 1,000 students.
Louisiana State University, in Baton Rouge, had 29,451 students enrolled for the 2010-2011 academic year, according to the Louisiana State University College Portrait. The LSU Police Department had 70 officers on staff, said LSUPD Captain Cory Lalonde, public information officer. This is a ratio of 2.4 officers for every 1,000 students.
The University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, had 25,007 students enrolled for the 2010-2011 academic year, according to the website. The Penn Police Department had 116 officers on staff, according to the UPPD website. This is a ratio of 4.6 officers for every 1,000 students.
The University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, had 36,896 students enrolled for the 2010-2011 academic year, according to the USC website. The USC Police Department had 241 members on staff, according to the USCPD website. This is a ratio of 6.5 officers for every 1,000 students.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, in Little Rock, had 647 students enrolled for the 2010-2011 academic year, according to the UAMS website. The UAMS Police Department had 34 officers, according to the UAMSPD website. This is a ratio of 5.3 officers for every 100 students.
As the populations of those towns are proportionally larger, the larger police forces make sense. With a smaller town, the UA doesn’t have as many outside forces acting on it, Crain said, meaning UAPD doesn’t need that high of a ratio.
“As more students enroll at the University of Arkansas, I feel like UAPD must grow to match it, proportionally,” said Alec Bacquet, UA student living on campus.
Bacquet is not the only student who feels this way.
“I want to know that, if I call UAPD, they will respond quickly and effectively,” said Erin Dougherty, UA student.