New Paine College chief of police talks campus security after sexual assault

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, March 12, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Paine College's new top cop is shaking things up, making a lot of changes when it comes to safety and security.

"We are going to take extreme measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our faculty, students and anybody that comes onto our campus in good standing," said Joseph Nelson, Paine College's new chief of Campus Safety.

Nelson has worked in law enforcement for more than 20 years.

"I have worked everything from walking the beat to patrol to investigations, all the way to the executive ranks of chief of police," he explained.

In his first week, a sexual assault on campus brought the college into the spotlight.

"We would like to surely serve notice to criminals and would-be criminals that Paine College, if you come here to do anything other than learn, then you are probably in the wrong place," he said.

Since his first day a little more than a week ago, Nelson's been adding new security measures, including more cameras, additional officers, alarms and ID checks.

"We will do random checks," Nelson said. "If we see you on campus, and we don't recognize you being a student -- even if we recognize you as being a student -- we're gonna challenge you. We wanna make sure that you are where you are supposed to be, and of course, if you're not, we're gonna escort you off this campus."

He says officers, including himself, will be on patrol 24/7 in cars and on bikes, but for those left with any questions following last week's assault, he sends this message: "We are here and we are here 24/7. If there's anyone on the Paine College campus in fear or harm, I will not, I cannot sleep until that person or the perpetrator is brought to justice."

He says they will be adding key card locking mechanisms to the doors of every dorm on campus. Every student at Paine College will now have an ID card that unlocks those doors, and if you don't, there will be a sign-in and sign-out process at a reception in every building to make sure they know who is there at all times.

They are also working to establish Paine College's first police department that will give them more authority and jurisdiction on campus. Right now, they have to call an outside agency for anything criminal. They say this will give them the ability to better enforce the law.

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