The University Police (UP) office is currently located across the street from Greek Village, near Fletcher Avenue. However, conversations have started between UP and administration about changing that.
According to UP Chief Chris Daniel, the conversations started because of UP’s growing staff numbers and an increasing technology demand.
“We’re exploring right now,” Daniel said. “We’re exploring, with the support of the university administration, alternatives that would allow us to grow.”
Over the last several years, there has been a statewide push by the Board of Governors (BOG) for the police forces at universities to have one officer per 600 students on campus. This push is part of why, Daniel said, the conversations about space is coming up.
According to Daniel, the current location wouldn’t be able to hold the number of officers needed to reach the BOG’s goal.
USF Tampa has about 43,500 students, according to the 2017 Factbook. In order to reach the BOG’s desired ratio, UP would need to employ around 73 officers in total. Currently, the force is comprised of 52 sworn officers with funding for 57, according to a report Daniel gave to the Board of Trustees (BOT) in February.
In the 2016-17 school year, 37 out of 176 applicants were qualified. In the end, three were hired and one stayed, according to Daniel’s report.
Another factor, Daniel said, is that the current building isn’t able to support UP’s technological needs and has other struggles. He reported to the BOT that the building has a leaking roof, mold and sewage backup.
“This building was never designed to be a police building,” Daniel said. “It was the architect’s house for the university. It was one of the first buildings out here. It’s been added onto so many times and the technology running through our attic, you can’t get any more cable in there. So, we’ve really just saturated the building as far as its useful life.”