SYRACUSE, N.Y. March 29 2017-- Syracuse University has a new group of public safety officers.
As the department of public safety grows, the school is offering new tools to help officers reach an even wider range of the community on campus.
It was a big day for Syracuse University's Department of Public Safety's newest class of peace officers and Casandra Franco who is one of the four of the departments officers to be trained in American Sign Language.
"American Sign Language can help anyone, as a peace officer working with the community it helps me communicate with a whole range of people that might not have been able to talk to me beforehand so it definitely is going to be beneficial," Casandra Franco said.
Chief Bobby Maldonado says having officers capable of communicating in sign is critical on a campus like SU that has more than 20,000 students.
"We have a number of folks on campus who have the need to sign when they communicate and just having the officers available to be able to respond to situations like that is going to be extremely beneficial in times of crisis," Chief Maldonado said.
Franco, one of four women in this years class of eight officers, learning sign language was something she always wanted to do.
"I grew up in Rochester, so there is a high deaf population in Rochester and I do know that is something the community needs and this was a great opportunity to learn something different," Franco explained.Classes for the new peace officers started on Monday and they will be finished with their training by the end of the summer. Once they finish, they will be ready to start patrolling campus when school starts up again next September.