Dec 212011

By Teri Walker–

Security guards will be patrolling Northland Pioneer College (NPC) campuses during evening classes in an effort to deter crime and increase students’ sense of safety at the community college.

Until this fall, NPC didn’t have a formal security presence. In requesting that the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board approve a contract for security services last week, NPC Vice President of Administrative Services Blaine Hatch said, “With some incidents that have occurred, we made the decision to try a pilot program to provide a uniformed security service.”

According to Show Low Police Chief Jeffery Smythe, in October a 24-year-old student was sexually assaulted in the parking lot of NPC’s White Mountain Campus in Show Low.

Board member Louella Nahsonhoya said an incident involving a gunman near NPC’s Hopi Center in Keams Canyon prompted a lockdown of the college facility recently.

“We’ve been grateful we’ve had a limited number of incidents over the years,” said Hatch. “The incident at the White Mountain Campus prompted this proposal.”

The proposal involves contracting with Corder Community Services to provide unarmed, uniformed security guards to patrol the college’s campuses from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, while classes are in session for the remainder of the school year.

The governing board approved the contract, for an amount not to exceed $50,000.

After the assault in Show Low, NPC engaged Corder Community Services to patrol its campuses in Show Low, Snowflake and Holbrook. With the contract, NPC will also have security at the Winslow campus.

NPC is also installing security cameras at its facilities. At the end of the 2012 spring semester, the college will evaluate the effectiveness of the security guards and cameras to determine whether the contract with Corder Community Services will be continued next year.