The number ofofficers has remained the same since 1997 while the student population has been increasing for years. UPD Capt. Daniel Benitez said there will be three officers and one emergency management coordinator added to the current staff of 33 officers.
The student population in 1997 was 20,652, according to an email from Joe Meyer, director of Institutional Research. Texas State welcomed 34,229 students this fall. Benitez said the additions are necessary for security and safety purposes because of the influx of students
There are currently 0.9 police officers for every 1,037 students. Benitez said the police officer-student ratio needs to be fixed in order to provide the services students, faculty and staff need.
Benitez said the hiring of additional officers is not in response to recent bomb threats at University of Texas and other schools. He said UPD was already holding interviews when the UT bomb threat was made.
There are two officers currently undergoing psychological and drug testing, and they could be hired within the next week, Benitez said. He said it will take about two months to fill all three officer positions.
Sgt. Robert Campbell, the current emergency management coordinator, said he anticipates his position being filled either in December or during the spring semester. Campbell is part of a search committee reviewing applicants.
Benitez said the emergency management coordinator is in charge of assessing incidents such as gas leaks, active shooters, natural disasters and bomb threats.
“Emergency management is the person that comes out and assesses that threat or that incident and says ‘What kind of resources do we need? Where do we get those resources from?’” Benitez said.
In cases such as natural disasters, the emergency management coordinator is responsible for obtaining funding from the federal government and making sure the necessary paperwork and forms are filled out.
Campbell said the emergency management coordinator has an important role on campus.
“Their purpose is to take the community and campus as a whole and look at what could be threats that could be impacting the campus,” Campbell said. “There’s no way to plan for everything that could happen during an emergency. But you can create a basic emergency management plan that defines what everyone’s jobs are.”
Campbell said whoever is hired as the new coordinator will have to begin working on an emergency plan.
“(Their job) is to start a plan, work the plan, continue the plan, revise the plan and rework the plan,” Campbell said. “This is a never-ending process.”
Campbell said he thinks the community will be pleased once a full-time emergency management coordinator is hired. Whoever gets the job will create plans for the community to utilize in times of emergencies.
Benitez said UPD officers are involved on campus in cases other than emergencies, such as monitoring the lighting and locks of each building, as well as noting who enters them.
“As you can see, the university is building and building. We have to make sure that the correct amount of officers are working to make sure we have a watchful eye,” Benitez said.