University of Alabama Police Department puts focus on community policing
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Aajene Robinson
The University of Alabama Police Department is changing its enforcement tactics to instead put the focus on becoming more community-focused.
UAPD started up a community policing division with about a half dozen officers who patrol campus dorms and get to know the students they’re charged with keeping safe.
Since UAPD Chief John Hooks has been in office, he’s made it a point to build relationships among students, faculty and staff.
UAPD implemented a community-oriented model where they have instilled specific training to all the officers and they constantly emphasize that their officers make citizen contact.
UAPD Officer Margaret Hamner said they are trying to be a department that people can lean on.
“We don’t want it to feel like it’s us against them, so we are actively trying to communicate with our population that we are not here just to put you in jail, we are not here to just enforce all the laws,” Hamner said. “We are a resource to y’all we are a resource to help you all engage in other resources that you may need.”
UAPD believes by growing and increasing relationships between police officers and the university community, it encourages people to report more incidents that are occurring within the area.
Assistant Chief Micah Rodgers said being more interactive with the community makes people more comfortable.
“Now because we have a better understanding of what we do and a better relationship, they feel more comfortable coming to us and talking to us about those things, reporting those things,” Rodgers said. “Now we can look into them and investigate them and try to get to the bottom of it and so we’ve definitely seen that.”
Rodgers said times are changing and the department can’t be stagnant, they need to change as society changes.