The University Police doesn't just want to protect students who live on campus - it wants to foster a better relationship with them, too.
Through the Student Community Oriented Police Effort program, UPD and the UF Department of Housing and Residence Education are expanding their effort to improve relationships between police officers and students who live on campus.
UPD first introduced S.C.O.P.E. in 2005, according to police Maj. Brad Barber, UPD public information officer.
In Fall 2010, UPD introduced the program to campus fraternity housing, and this semester the department is working to implement it in campus sorority housing as well.
Through S.C.O.P.E., four police officers are assigned to an on-campus housing area. The officer usually is on duty during UPD's two daytime and two nighttime shifts.
"The hope is that they [officers] will all stop by and develop a relationship or at least an awareness with the residents that it's not so odd to see a police officer in the area," said Lisa Diekow, director of housing for residence life and education at UF.
S.C.O.P.E. was introduced to fraternities instead of sororities because of the volume of party-related events in fraternity housing areas, said police Capt. Bart Knowles, who manages the program.
S.C.O.P.E. officers are encouraged to make an effort to get to know housing staff and student residents, Knowles said.
"At the beginning of the year, it's real important for us to try to have residents have an awareness about how to access the police department for their safety," Diekow said.
Officer Brad Roberts, for example, attended resident assistant meetings at Lakeside, told students about himself and gave them some safety tips for the start of the school year, Knowles said.
Students also can contact S.C.O.P.E. officers by email. Officers' email addresses are posted on bulletin boards in each housing area. The boards also include information on various programs offered by UPD, such as self-defense classes for women.
S.C.O.P.E. is based on the idea of community-oriented policing, Knowles said.
"The idea is to build relationships with the community that you serve ... It's an opportunity for us to just get our faces out there. We need to be approachable," he said. "Our mission here is to provide the best environment for a student to get the best education possible."
S.C.O.P.E. Officer Marcus L. Brinson speaks with students in the Murphree Area. The initiative was started to help prevent crime by improving communication between UPD and UF students.