Renewed push for safety improvements on college campuses in Louisiana

Grambling State and Louisiana Tech are asking lawmakers to allocate money for license plate readers on campus.
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 10:11 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - School safety could be the focus of the upcoming legislative session in Louisiana.

The 2023 Regular Legislative Session will begin on April 10 in Baton Rouge.

In presenting his 2023-24 budget proposal to the legislature, Governor John Bel Edwards asked lawmakers to prioritize capital outlay requests that improve student safety on college campuses.

“There is a significant technology focus of our safety plan,” Grambling State University President Rick Gallot told KNOE.

Gallot says GSU is asking lawmakers to allocate money for license plate readers and security cameras on campus.

“As cars are coming or going, to have the ability to know who is on the campus at particular times,” explained Gallot. “If vehicles are making frequent trips and they are not students. Again, it provides us the opportunity to collect data.”

Over in Ruston, Louisiana Tech is also asking legislators for license plate readers. Dickie Crawford, Vice President of Student Advancement, says they will help in an emergency.

“We will have readers around campus strategically placed that will read license plates, that we can then quickly trace back to who those individuals are and then do the investigation from there,” said Crawford.

Crawford adds Tech has asked their legislative delegation for funds to improve lighting, crosswalks and give their 21 police officers a raise.

“We have outstanding well-trained police, but they need to be paid more,” explained Crawford.

“For us to recruit and retain our police officers, it’s imperative that we give them a pay increase.”

In 2021, the University of Louisiana Systems approved Grambling State’s request to build a “perimeter structure” around campus. Gallot says it’s all part of a comprehensive safety plan.

“Someone said that it’s a fence and a wall, and it’s certainly much more involved and comprehensive than a physical structure,” President Gallot explained.

Both schools say they have made safety improvements already. Tech has added emergency call boxes on campus, while Grambling has rolled out its new safety app for students.