Being a campus police officer at Savannah State University comes with a wide variety of duties to ensure safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors. These duties include active patrolling, monitoring events, prevent crimes, and help with emergencies.
Sgt. Gerald Williams has been in the police profession for 33 years and has been at SSU for 11 of those years.
“I love doing my job, making sure this campus is safe is my duty," Williams said. He believes that every officer on SSU’s campus does their jobs to their entirety. But for the job that they do, he believes they should get paid more.
The salary of an officer on Savannah State’s campus averages between $32,000-$54,000 depending on qualifications and experiences. However, the employment rate is down and officers are having to do more.
“It gets frustrating," Cpl. Areathia Castro said. Castro has been at SSU for 4.5 years. She said she wished there were more officers.
This semester SSU was down eight officers, which means the role for officers become more intense. They not only do their designated duties but have more responsibilities added.
Students say they haven't noticed the reduced number of officers on campus.
“I didn’t know they were down that many officers," junior Malik White, a behavior analysis major, said.
Dealing with students, limiting crime, patrolling the area, being there for emergencies, as well as dealing with negative comments can be overwhelming.
“We get blamed for a lot of things”, said Williams. He also added that the good things go overlooked and they work hard to ensure the campus is a safe environment.
According to Salary.com the average pay of a campus police officer in Georgia is $ $43,255. However in Savannah, the salary is $42,866. Salary ranges varies depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your profession.
The Campus Safety data reported that campus police make 14 percent less than traditional police.
Although SSU officers are not happy with their pay they all agreed that they love doing their job. And with the current budget crisis at the institution, that pay is not likely to change soon.
“I feel like what I do here on this campus is worth more," said Castro.