University police plan to open new police office in Breezeway

The center will be used for student engagement


Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Yehudah Rodman, Contributing Writer

Florida Atlantic University Police will be opening a community outreach office in the Breezeway by late March, according to FAU Police Capt. Larry Ervin.

The Community Outreach Police Substation — or COPS for short — will be located in room 141 — adjacent to the bookstore and Traditions Plaza — and will be open 24 hours a day.

A community outreach officer, a crime prevention officer and a road patrol officer will staff the new sub-station.

Although the new office will operate as a regular police station, it’s part of a broader effort by the police department to interact with students at FAU.

“Everything happens on the Breezeway,” Ervin said. “If people can see us out there we will become a little bit more part of the community.”

Some believe the center could create an opportunity for more dialogue between students and the police

“We don’t engage with the FAU Police as much as we should,” Carrie Holloway, a junior economics major said. “Having them here will enable us to tell them the things that we need.”

Freshman Hassan Waseem, a business major, believes that a new police outpost closer to student activity will make police more approachable.

“Students are afraid to approach the police because there’s only one police station, and it’s so far away,” he said.

Other students were less enthusiastic about the increased police presence.

“We don’t really need anymore, I see too many,” said Chaim Bitterman, a junior mathematics major.

He believes the police are needed to maintain security, but that students become nervous criminal activity is taking place when they see too many officers around campus.

“It puts people on edge,” Bitterman said.

Lt. Torsan Cowart, the chief investigator of FAU Police, said the center will promote more student-to-police interaction.

While Ervin and Cowart admit their presence on the Breezeway will deter crime and offer visitors a sense of security, they insist the new office is not a reaction to any specific incidents that have occurred on campus.

On Sept. 8, 2015, FAU student Emeil Stewart posted on the anonymous social media site, Yik Yak, saying that his friend planned on bringing a gun to school and shooting up the Breezeway. After the FAU police department investigated and found that the post was false, Stewart was given an interim suspension from all Florida Atlantic campuses.

The incident raised fears that FAU could become vulnerable to a shooting attack as
threats of this nature have become a growing concern across U.S. college campuses. In 2015, there were 31 college shootings, and in 2014, a gunman shot three students at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Cowart said, “If you look at what happened in Ferguson, the main thing they talk about is not having a connection with police … Now, we’re right here with you.”

Yehudah Rodman is a contributing writer with the University Press. To contact him on this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.