News 12 at 11 o'clock / Friday, July 19, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Paine College is upgrading.
"By the end of this year, all our personnel will be certified police officers," said Chief Joseph Nelson of the Paine College Police Department.
The college is making the move from campus safety to the Paine College Police Department.
Officers can now make arrests and will be certified to carry firearms.
This overhaul comes just months after a student was raped in a dorm room.
Chief Joseph Nelson was hired shortly after that to increase campus safety -- and the list of security changes isn't short.
"We've upgraded some of our camera equipment so we've got surveillance throughout," he explained. "We've also put keycard readers on our residential halls. And we've also got certified police officers walking in and around the residential halls."
Carlton Crawford, a Paine College graduate, uses the campus library several times a week.
He says the security upgrades help him feel better staying on campus later and staying focused on his studies.
"I feel more comfortable coming around to get my work done because I know that there's more security around," Crawford said.
Cameron Brisco just got to the Paine campus a few weeks ago for football camp.
He'd heard about some of the crime problems.
"Kick down your door, you never know," Brisco said.
With the new campus police department, he says he feels he can focus on the upcoming season.
"It's always good to have security because when you have security, you have stability, you stay stable, and you don't have so much trouble going on around," he said.
Nelson says right now seven of the 13 officers are trained, armed and certified to carry a firearm. By the end of the year, all 13 officers will be armed.
Officers will also be patrolling the neighborhood around the college campus.
Paine College PD is working with Richmond County and will be able to transfer any suspects to the Richmond County Jail.