In an effort to ramp up security on campus, the UCF Police Department will be placing an unarmed security guard at the John C. Hitt library starting next semester.
During an SGA Senate meeting on Oct. 28, Speaker of the Senate Meghan Kircher said that the library is working with UCF PD to “ensure safety and well-being of all students” with this change.
“The security officer will give the library staff another set of eyes and also help to remind students not to leave their valuables lying around not being watched,” said UCF PD officer Peter Stephens. “Our theft cases at the library are down from previous years and we would like to keep it that way.”
The guard will be a UCF community service officer, which is an unarmed UCF PD staff member.
Along with watching for suspicious activity and directly communicating with the dispatch center through a two-way radio in cases of emergencies, the officer will monitor foot traffic and the front entrance security scanners. In the past, Stephens said, the library had a staff member that would monitor the front entrance security scanners, but that position was dropped.
The decision to place a guard “is not due to any specific set of circumstances,” he said, adding that it was not due to the 2014 shooting that occurred in the Florida State University Strozier Library, which injured three victims — though plans to add an officer have been in the works for the past year.
“We have quite an extensive collection of materials and safeguarding it so everyone has the opportunity to use the resources is the primary goal,” he said.
But the library’s Associate Director for Communication Meg Scharf said that the FSU incident did spark discussion among library administration about safety, and that having a security guard would be an additional safety measure.
Scharf said the plan is to have a guard present each night Sunday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to closing, including until 3 a.m. during the final exam period. Stephens said that UCF PD will also consider feedback from library staff regarding its busiest hours when setting the guard’s operating times.
Nada Hassanein is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @nhassanein_ or email her at NadaH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.