Texas Wesleyan has hired a new security firm that will begin patrolling the campus in March, according to university officials.
Sunstates Security will replace Guardsmark Security on March 1, said Blake Bumbard, campus security manager.
The switch to Sunstates is the result of complaints about Guardsmark officers last semester, Bumbard said. Students voiced their dissatisfaction in forums last November, which led to a review of four security firms.
“The student forums and concerns really made us look for a new security system to provide us a higher quality service,” he said. “We have always had an ongoing review on how to make things better.”
Sunstates’ presentation and reviews were impressive, said Pati Alexander, vice president of enrollment & student services.
“We were looking for a company that focused on customer service,” she said. “The current officers do not speak to the students and faculty.”
Wesleyan is also planning to have a group of retired Fort Worth Police Department officers on campus evenings and weekends starting June 1, Alexander said.
Hiring Sunstates, and paying for the retired officers and their equipment, will increase Wesleyan’s security budget by $800,000 per year, Alexander wrote in an email.
But an improved security force, with more experience and better training, is invaluable, Bumbard.
“Students’ initial impression of the officers will be changed,” Bumbard said.
Sunstates officers have received better training than those working for Guardsmark, Alexander said. Also, Sunstates officers have EMT and CPR emergency training.
Sunstates will provide service that will make students feel more at ease, Bumbard said.
“Security will be greatly improved due to the new officers’ experience and training,” Bumbard said. “I think students will feel a lot safer.”
There will also be more officers on campus. Whereas Guardsmark has four officers on campus at all times, Sunstates will have six, and management will be on campus eight times per month, Alexander said.
“That impressed me most – that’s more than most security firms,” she said. “They have great management and are so involved. We need to make sure the students’ needs are met. They’re our top priority.”
Chris Shaddix, a senior pre-law student, said he is happy about the new security firm. He believes security should be the highest priority at Wesleyan.
“I have had my belonging stolen from my car on campus last year,” Shaddix said. “My hope is that the school is able to hire the most qualified personnel.”
Sunstates prides itself on being a proactive partner with a manager-to-officer ratio three times that of the industry standard, company Executive Vice President Denis J. Kelly wrote in an email.
The company has worked closely with Wesleyan to increase the visibility of officers on campus and their professionalism, Kelly wrote.
“We believe the reasons for their selection will align with the benefits and improvements the TWU students, faculty and staff will experience,” he wrote. “Those benefits will include a more visible, proactive, customer service focused security team dedicated to working closely with everyone on campus.”