UPD provides campus safety tips

Scott Young, News Editor

Jacksonville State University is dedicated to providing a safe environment for students to obtain their education and enjoy themselves on campus. Students should always be aware and informed on how to stay safe while on campus.

The University Police Department (UPD) provides the same services as a traditional law enforcement agency and works 24/7 to keep Jacksonville State a safe campus for all its students.

“Stay vigilant and alert to surroundings, report suspicious activity, keep your car locked with valuables out of sight, check the area before entering your vehicle, be cautious for pedestrian and bicycle traffic on and near campus and ensure that you are receiving JSU alerts on your phone,” said Rob Schaffer, Chief of the University Police. 

When walking around campus, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone on campus if possible. If walking at night, try to walk with a partner or group and avoid isolated or poorly-lit areas like alleys, vacant lots or buildings. It is encouraged for you to remember the following well-known rules:  

  • Do not trust strangers.  
  • Always travel with those you know.  
  • There is safety in numbers.  
  • Do not leave valuables unattended. 

Schaffer encourages incoming freshmen to visit http://www.jsu.edu/police to view two videos regarding safety; one regarding active shooter information and one about campus preparedness and safety which is specific to JSU. 

If you ever feel unsafe on campus, UPD maintains seven emergency phones throughout campus that are a direct method of communication with UPD dispatch. These phones are located at the middle of the Quad, at the intersection of Russell Parkway and Trustee Circle, at the corner of Stephenson Gym, near the entrance of the JSU track and near Abbott Circle. Simply push the button and you will be connected directly to a dispatcher. 

Students are encouraged to sign up to receive emergency notifications to their phone and to update their emergency contact number in the JSU Emergency Alert System. The alerts allow students, faculty and staff to receive emergency messages via text message and email regarding any on-campus emergencies or severe weather. You can sign up for these alerts by visiting http://www.jsu.edu/police/emergencymgt/alertsystem.html

Students should also make sure they own a NOAA weather radio in the event of any severe weather such as severe thunderstorms, flooding or tornadoes. Never rely solely on outdoor sirens. Your weather radio is more likely to wake you up in the middle of the night to alert you for tornado warnings than an outdoor siren.  

ABC 33/40 Chief Meteorologist James Spann encourages everyone to know where they are going during a tornado warning. In the event of a tornado warning, seek shelter at the lowest floor of your building away from any windows. Wear a helmet, if possible, to remain safe from any flying debris. 

“Every Alabama home and business needs a NOAA Weather Radio (NEVER rely on an outdoor siren), and everyone needs Wireless Emergency Alerts enabled on their phone,” said Spann in an emailed statement. “Everyone must know in advance where they are going during a tornado warning and have helmets for everyone in that safe place.” 

For additional information on campus safety, please visit http://www.jsu.edu/police or call 256-782-8888. To report an emergency or crime, dial 256-782-5050 or 911.

Photo courtesy of JSU

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