PCC looks to improve security, safety - Tucson News Now

PCC looks to improve security, safety

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Pima Community College officials said they're looking for more ways to improve security.

The campus faced more questions about safety ever since revelations that Jan. 8 gunman Jared Loughner was once a student there. The faculty had expelled him for being disruptive and potentially threatening.

The college recently added four police officers, bringing the total to 33 officers to keep a watchful eye on all PCC campuses.  The increased security stems from new feedback the college received.

Some students at PCC, like Jamon Lane, are taking notice. "I feel like they are always on patrol and are always watching," Jamon said.  He is seeing more campus police throughout the college and he isn't complaining. "I heard it's kind of a bad area and it makes me feel safe there are cops cycling through," he said.

New ways to improve security on all six campuses and facilities comes after a safety and threat assessment on the college conducted by an Ohio firm. Bill Ward, PCC Vice Chancellor for Facilities, said a new approach is at work: "We want to take more of a community policing role, to be more visible, to be out and about for students, staff, and the general public."

The evaluation includes feedback directly from students and staff. The reports also give suggestions on how PCC should deploy their police officers and update equipment for them. "We're looking at a computerized system inside the vehicles for our law enforcement so they can file reports from there, instead of having to come back to the office," Ward said.

Ward added that incidents over the years involving Jared Loughner and mass shootings across the nation played a role in how PCC moved forward with security measures: "It's a different world now and you have to be prepared the best way you can."

The college wants to remind students of security measures already in place, like their recent text message alert system.

"I get the emergency alerts from the University of Arizona, but I didn't know they had one here. I should probably find out more information about that," Jamon said.

PCC leaders said they are still looking through the assessment reports to see what other security measures they could add.

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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