POSTED: Monday, May 12, 2014 - 6:45pm
UPDATED: Monday, May 12, 2014 - 6:49pm
HAMMOND, La (NBC33) — Southeastern University students are reacting to the news that there will finally be someone new heading their Police Department.
The University's police department is understaffed and there are lots of housekeeping issues that need to be addressed. But Monday, the school announced their new director, who students say will be one step in the right direction for the department.
It's a small, quaint campus with little crime but even so, students say that's no excuse.
"I have never really seen any policeman or security guards actually on campus," said student, Jillian Serpas.
"I have never really seen them that much on campus," noted student, John Faucheaux.
They say their safety should be more of a priority, including Serpas, who lives in the dorms.
“I feel like there should be more policemen on guard on campus especially for females walking around at night."
Officers on campus told NBC33 they have eight vacancies right now and they are extremely understaffed. On some shifts there is as few as one person on duty.
"It's kind of sad," noted Faucheaux. "I wish they were more involved."
But now the school has finally found someone to step in and hopefully start cleaning up some of the issues that have been rising over the years.
"I appreciate that they are acknowledging stuff that's actually happening."
Some officers have even told us they are ready for change. With a staff of solely Caucasian males, they want some diversity. They say there is even some hostility still lingering from former problems with former staff, and students like Faucheaux can feel the tension.
“The other day I got pulled over and I was tying to be nice to the guy but the guy didn't even talk to me really. I was kind of upset. I was trying to have a nice conversation and I was trying to be nice.”
But with new addition, Harold Todd heading toward Hammond, everyone seems excited to see what the future might bring.
“It’s nice that they are doing something about it and they are trying to fox it instead of just leaving it," said student Cory Oliphant.
Here is some more information about the new director of the Southeastern Police Department.
Harold Todd returns to Southeastern after having served 10 years as assistant director for the UPD from 1994-2004. He is expected to begin his new duties June 2.
With 34 years of law enforcement experience, Todd has served as a Louisiana State Trooper and narcotics investigator, as well as chief of police at both Northern Kentucky University and most recently at Texas A&M University – Central Texas. He holds a bachelor’s degree and secondary teaching certification from Southeastern and a master’s of science in criminal justice from the University of Alabama. In addition to successfully attending the Louisiana State Police Training Academy, he completed training at the FBI National Academy in Washington D.C.
“The employment of Harold Todd as director will allow him to move Southeastern’s UPD toward more campus-focused policing,” said Southeastern Vice President for Student Affairs Marvin Yates, who is charged with oversight of the police department. “He brings significant credibility and experience to the position.”
In his previous work assignments, Todd has conducted internal investigations, held hearings and administered discipline as appropriate. He instituted community policing strategies by creating community partnerships through which he was able to prioritize victim services and customer relations. He was also a member of adjunct faculty at NKU, instructing Introduction to Criminal Justice and Policing in America courses.