SA senate supports budget increase to improve 4-RIDE

The Student Association voted Tuesday night to support a $300,000 increase in the University Police Department’s budget, in hopes of expanding and improving UPD’s 4-RIDE service.

The SA’s Student Life Committee reported that 35 percent of calls made to UPD for 4-RIDE dispatch service went unanswered in 2008 because the service has not grown in relation to the demands of the University population.

“We recognize the importance of 4-RIDE and realize that it has been running inefficiently by no fault of its own, but because of a lack of staffing,” said SA Sen. Michael Komo, CCAS-U, vice chair of the Student Life Committee. “I’m elated that this passed unanimously.”

Komo, along with SA Sen. Chris Pappas, CCAS-U, began working with UPD Chief Dolores Stafford at the beginning of the school year to correct the department’s inefficiency and expand 4-RIDE’s resources.

4-RIDE vans provided 57,000 more rides in 2008 than they did in 2003, according to data provided by UPD. Additional funding has not been added to match this growing population with more staff and vehicles.

The proposed $295,595 addition to the department’s budget would support seven driver positions, one assistant supervisor position, six new vans for the fleet and funds for gas and maintenance, according to the Student Life Committee’s report.

In addition to improvements in 4-RIDE’s ability to transport students, a funding increase for UPD would strengthen campus security across the board, Komo said.

“This is all going to just make everyone’s life easier, everyone’s life better,” Komo said.

Although the resolution’s passage does not bind the University to the funding increase, Pappas and Komo both said they anticipate changes in the 4-RIDE program by fall 2009.

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