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Jacksonville State University’s Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety Issues Update After Student Death

Public Safety Update

Jacksonville, AL – Michael Barton, Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety for JSU, issued an update following the tragic death of JSU student Leah Tarvin. He thanked all for the constructive feedback concerning pedestrian and motorist safety that many provided to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) through its Report a Concern portal. As a result of these efforts, and the JSU administration’s dialogue with state officials over the past week, action is being taken.

ALDOT has initiated work at the intersection of Alabama Highway 21 and Skelton Street. Their plan is to build an intersection and install a traffic light to improve pedestrian and motorist safety at this location, regulating and directing the flow of vehicles and pedestrians. Once the traffic light and crosswalks are complete, ALDOT plans to remove the separate crosswalks on Highway 21 in front of Brewer Hall and Merrill Hall to provide for a single point of pedestrian crossing under the safety of the new traffic signal.

JSU and the City of Jacksonville have further requested that ALDOT conduct a comprehensive analysis of the other crosswalks along Highway 21 and Highway 204 to ensure the maximum safety features are in place with the latest technology available. We have also assembled a task force consisting of the Student Government Association, administrators, staff, faculty, and officials from the City of Jacksonville to work collectively in making recommendations to ALDOT and to evaluate and propose improvements for pedestrian crossings along city streets and campus roads.

All members of the campus community are encouraged to take action by reviewing and practicing the safety recommendations that we share with campus each semester and by reporting any safety concerns on the new Cocky Watch app. Safety briefings for groups are also available to be delivered by the Department of Public Safety upon request. All students and staff were asked to please be vigilant and do their part to help keep JSU safe.

He also reminded all to let the University police know if a safety escort or any other assistance is needed. This can be completed through the the Cocky Watch app or by calling University Police at 256-782-5050.

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