Police officers holding radar guns stand around the perimeter of the Coral Gables campus, waiting to catch a student violating the law. Though these officers do not have a pulse-they are life-like posters-University of Miami Police Chief David A. Rivero believes the cardboard cut-outs will deter speeding.
The decoys will be positioned on all roads leading to campus including Ponce de Leon and Miller Drive and were initiated in response to Freshman Ashley Kelly’s death in April of 2005. Kelly was hit while crossing U.S. 1 on her way to T.G.I Friday’s.
Rivero said he is confident that the posters will minimize accidents and crime.
“I’m afraid of having a student killed,” Rivero said, who has been with the university since last October. “The more you multiply and maximize the police force, the more you can minimize and prevent crime.”
But some students feel this is not enough.
“Something bigger has to be done,” said Christina Hajj, a senior and Kelly’s best friend.
“I know UM set up a shuttle from Dickinson to CVS, but I don’t think signs and shuttles are enough.” She added that in addition to UM, students at nearby middle schools and elementary schools are at risk, and she believes an overpass should be built in addition to the cardboard cut-outs.
Without cooperation from the city of Coral Gables to build an overpass, all safety initiatives are left up to the university. The use of posters is one of the new initiatives by Rivero to maximize police presence and safety on campus. Other new initiatives include the use of officers on motorcycles as a more efficient, “greener” and less expensive form of law enforcement.
“Traffic enforcement is the best deterrent to [traffic] crime,” Rivero said. “It works.”
Amy Cohen may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.