Southeast Arkansas College has reached an agreement with the Pine Bluff Police Department that will provide for a uniformed police officer to be on campus every hour that the school is open.
SEARK President Steven Bloomberg made the announcement Wednesday during a meeting of the school’s Board of Trustees.
He said that the safety and security of students, faculty and staff is his number one concern, and while the school will continue to employ private, armed security 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a full-time uniformed police officer will also be on hand when classes are going on.
“Sometimes the presence of an officer serves as a deterrent,” he said.
Bloomberg said the officer started last week, and there are provisions in place so that if that officer is needed to respond to an urgent call in the area, he will be able to do so.
Along the same lines, Bloomberg said all classrooms and offices on campus are now equipped with phones so that in the event of an emergency, “We will all get the same message at the same time.”
“We have a safe campus but we’re going to continue to bolster our efforts,” he said.
On another subject, Bloomberg said that the Seabrook facility, which SEARK leased recently, has been open for three weeks and the average daily attendance has been 63 for students and faculty members who enter just once and leave, and 103 for those who enter, leave then return.
“Our biggest challenge has been to turn away those people who are non-students,” Bloomberg said, adding that feedback from students using the facility has been good.
A shuttle bus runs from campus to Seabrook every hour and 20 minutes, something Bloomberg said was a “big deal.”
Seabrook is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m.to 5 p.m.on Friday.
Bloomberg said the facility will be open for the first time on the weekend starting this Saturday.
Fall graduation for SEARK is set for Dec. 14 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The speaker will be Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services Chief Shauwn Howell, who is a graduate of the school.