As part of Campus Safety Week 2019, the USF Police Department (UP) is holding a fundraiser to fund a new K-9 program.
From Oct. 21-25, the events will consist of training courses to prepare USF students and faculty for dangerous situations. Courses include SAFE (Sexual Assault Fundamental Escapes Course), a self-defense program aimed at women, and SKYWARN storm spotting, a program to teach people how to detect approaching bad weather and alert others around them, according to UP.
“The event provides an opportunity to educate the campus community on safety, disaster preparedness and crime prevention,” said the USF Campus Safety Week page.
This is the second annual Campus Safety Week.
On Oct. 24, UP will host Campus Safety Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sessums Mall, located near USF Genshaft Drive. Students and faculty will have the chance to drop a responder into a dunk tank after making a donation to support funding the program.
The K-9 unit will be used to detect drugs both on and off campus. UP believes this new addition to the department will get them up to date compared to other police departments in the Tampa Bay area.
Physical resources, such as specialized vehicles, dog training and certain equipment are needed for the program to begin. The funds raised will go toward obtaining these resources.
“Almost anywhere you look, police agencies are using K-9 resources as an industry standard,” said USF Police Chief Chris Daniel. “Once the K-9 program is up and running, it will be fairly easy to maintain.”
The K-9s will also be working with local agencies, according to Daniel.
The Hillsborough County sheriff’s office K-9 unit is comprised of 22 dogs. They train German shepherds, Belgian malinois, German shepherd/Belgian malinois mixes and bloodhounds.
Each dog has a specialty, such as bomb or narcotics detection or fugitive apprehension. UP is looking to add explosive detection dogs as the program grows.
“We hope by the first of the year to have a couple of dogs in service and either completed with training or finishing their training,” Daniel said.
K-9 demonstrations will be one of the available events to watch and participate in during Campus Safety Day.
“We’ve gone many years without [K-9s] as a resource,” Daniel said. “It’s time for us to have that resource in the department. It will create a safer environment for our students, staff and faculty.”