ASU law-enforcement, public safety units now include Darton
Move brings improved services, increased opportunities, community policing
ALBANY, Ga. (June 2, 2016) – One more aspect of the consolidation process at Albany State University has moved forward: On June 1, Albany State University police department began providing policing services for the Darton State College campus. On Thursday, June 2, officers were to be sworn in at the Dougherty County Courthouse.
“We have two good departments that are now working together as one great department,” said ASU Police Chief John Fields. “The Darton officers are excited, the ASU officers are excited. We want everyone to understand that our enthusiasm comes from knowing that we now have a department that is designed for greater efficiencies and more effectiveness than before. We are better prepared to raise the bar when it comes to ensuring the safety of everyone on both campuses.”
Fields, who has been at ASU since 2007 and served as police chief since 2011, said this effort is about more than numbers; it is about taking the best of both institutions with safety and good policing as the focus. He said the university community can expect a greater police presence on both campuses, more community-oriented policing and increased services at the Darton campus. He cited one example of improvement as the ASU command center now being available to both campuses; Darton has not had a dispatcher in the past or adequate coverage for night patrol.
“A safe campus environment supports student success, including degree attainment,” said ASU President Art Dunning. “In fact, a safe campus is among the major criteria parents and students use when considering college options. We are committed to maintaining a safe and secure campus environment, and bringing together these experienced and highly skilled forces is a testament to that commitment.”
As a part of the change, former Darton Police Chief James Brackin has a new role in the department. Brackin is now the major of police, and will focus on all law-enforcement efforts at the Darton campus.
Department officers have begun cross-training and general-training efforts. Police vehicles and uniforms have been updated to illustrate the change. Efficiencies will be realized as third-party contractors for night patrol are eliminated and part-time officers are no longer needed.
“This is another exciting development for us,” said Richard Carvajal, interim president at Darton. “We will make more than 900 decisions about the university before this consolidation is completed. I think we can all agree that a move that fills vacancies at both departments through working together, and increases services and opportunities for all is great news.”
Other key consolidation decisions include the recent announcement of the five colleges of the new ASU, including the Darton College of Health Professions. Dunning and Carvajal said consolidation will create a larger university that better serves the needs of the community and region. Final Board of Regents approval of consolidation is expected in January 2017.
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