UMPD partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation to help spread awareness of campus safety and cautious driving at the UMPD Campus Safety Fair / ‘Put it Down’ Campaign Kick-Off Wednesday afternoon at the Rock.
The fair, focused on educating students about safety resources both on and off campus, featured police officers from the Coral Gables, South Miami and City of Miami police departments.
Crime Prevention Specialist, John Gulla, introduced the new K-9 unit of the UMPD, which consists of a friendly Labrador named Thunder, who will assist in events coordination and explosives detection. John expressed that one of the major points of the Safety Fair was to bring awareness to the students that UMPD is there for them anytime, day or night, and safety escorts are always available on campus.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is an off campus safety resource and co-sponsor of the event. FDOT kicked off their annual Put It Down campaign, aimed at bringing awareness about distracted driving. The Put it Down campaign's goal is to teach Florida laws to UM students and make them aware of the dangers one faces while driving with cell phones or distracting friends in the car. FDOT began its partnership with UM in 2011 after their need for increased bike and pedestrian safety.
Carlos Sarmiento, Community Traffic Safety Program Coordinator, said “our aim is to make sure the students of Florida know the laws of driving and form good driving habits.”
Sarmiento sees FDOT's visit to UM as essential because of the turnover of students each year and believes it is imperative to keep informing the new and old residents of Miami the importance of safe driving, biking and walking.
Erica Rodgers, a Junior Public Relations major at UM, represented the Dean of Students Office to raise drug and alcohol awareness on campus. Although she was there with Pier 21, Erica had the opportunity to walk around and learn more about different safety services associated with UM.
Erica notes ”... there are far more resources than people realize. I’ve just learned about different services through the Wellness Center and the Student Center that I didn’t know were available before.”
The Florida Department of Transportation has plans to host their annual Drive Safe campaign, which aims to raise awareness of aggressive driving, and Alert Today Alive Tomorrow, which promotes bike and pedestrian safety. Dates to be released soon.
For more information on UMPD, visit their website here.