The Fort Hays State University Police Department will move into new quarters -- the Center of Public Safety, or C.O.P.S. -- from Monday through Friday, March 17-21.
The campus police will continue patrols and other normal operations during the move from the Brooks Building to Custer Hall, but the public should be aware to contact the department by telephone during the week of the move. There will be no walk-in service during the week.
In an emergency, the public should call 911 as usual. For other situations in which police services are needed, the public should call (785) 628-5304. If the campus police cannot answer for any reason, the call will automatically roll over to the Hays Police Department.
"This new facility will enable us to provide even more efficient service to the FHSU community, and to the wider community on an as-needed basis," said Ed Howell, director of the University Police Department. "We urge the public to call 628-5304 during the move just as they would any other time, and they will not experience any disruption in our response."
As a commitment to public safety, FHSU approved funding for C.O.P.S. in February 2006, and renovation began on the existing structure in September 2007. The new facility represents a convergence of all University Police Department operations in a controlled and secure environment, encompassing law enforcement, public safety education, emergency management and planning, and public safety communications for the university. Specifically, the facility will house a state-of-the-art interview room for forensic interviews, a training and conference area, administrative offices, a dispatch center, a patrol section, investigative sections for computer forensics, and the Ellis County High Technology Crime Unit. The new facility is located at the north end of Custer Hall on the "garden view" level and encompasses 5,241 square feet.
Several of the areas within C.O.P.S. were designed for versatility and multi-use. As an example, the mediated training room features 20 phone lines, wireless connectivity to university networks, access to the Kansas Criminal Justice Information System, the Virtual Private Network for the department's records management system, and Web Emergency Operation Center management software with direct connectivity to the Adjutant General’s Office and the Kansas Emergency Operations Center in Topeka.
C.O.P.S. is the primary location for the FHSU Emergency Operations Center, for command and control, and is the secondary location for the Ellis County Emergency Operations Center. The dispatch center is designated as the secondary Public Service Answering Point and dispatch center for Ellis County.
The campus police will become fully operational in the new C.O.P.S. at Custer Hall on Monday, March 24. Chief Howell said an open house for the public would be announced after his department has settled into its new facility.