Cameras needed in FSUPD station

FSUPD officers have been hired to protect us.

While many students may believe their primary focus is issuing parking tickets, according to the University police website, their “primary responsibility” is the safety and security of campus, as well as upholding the laws of the commonwealth on campus.

This is exactly why the incident that occurred on the morning of Sept. 3 is so disturbing. An FSUPD officer, Wilter Dormevil, who had worked for the University since May, allegedly exposed himself to a student desk worker and masturbated in front of her while on the job. Dormevil has since been arrested, banned from campus and fired.

Unfortunately, this troubling incident went undocumented on camera. While seemingly every inch of the campus is covered by security cameras – from the residence halls, to the academic buildings, to the parking lots – the University Police station remains free of cameras, with the exception of one facing the narrow lobby.

Considering this former FSUPD officer’s alleged atrocious actions, we at The Gatepost believe security cameras should be installed inside the University police station.

While it is understandable that cameras inside the station may seem redundant, as the police would essentially be watching themselves on camera, we feel it is crucial to have a record and documentation of how University police officers are behaving on the job.

After all, many other departments on campus are monitored on the job, either deliberately or coincidentally – the library staff, dining services and SDAs – why not University police?

As of late, there has been a national debate about recording police officers while on the job. Earlier this month, Judge Douglas Wilkins ordered Boston police to comply with Police Commissioner William Evans’ decision to launch a six-month body camera pilot program. One hundred Boston police officers were forced to participate in the program after no one volunteered.

Boston is not the first city to consider body cameras – New York City, Seattle and Los Angeles are just a few of the departments that have already initiated body camera programs. It is likely that moving forward, police officers in every major police department will be fitted with body cameras.

In a press briefing, Evans said the Boston police have “nothing to hide.”

This assertion hopefully rings true for all police departments, especially our very own FSUPD.

While it is easy to say the officers who serve FSU would never put the safety of students in jeopardy, it does not change the fact that a student desk worker was allegedly sexually harassed by an FSUPD officer inside the FSUPD station. The fact that there is no recording available makes it all the more troubling.

We at The Gatepost are not advocating for FSUPD officers to wear body cameras, but for them to provide the same surveillance record of their own office that they collect from the rest of the campus.