Law Enforcement Officer Myles Kittleson is always looking for ways to improve the community, often with the help of community members. He aims to get students involved in the outreach and prevention programs he oversees for the University Police Department.
That was the case with several projects that Kittleson and UPD implemented recently: the creation of a prescription drug drop-off box, a lending library and a kit for helping children dealing with trauma.
Located inside the UPD lobby in the Campus Support Complex, the drop box is available to students and the public 24/7. Many police stations have similar programs for taking leftover prescriptions. Kittleson thought it was important for FGCU to have a resource where community members could dispose of medicines in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. Rather than flushing them down a toilet and thus adding drugs and chemicals into the water system, individuals can now safely dispose of their prescriptions through FGCU UPD at their convenience. Accepted materials include prescription drugs, patches, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and pet medicines. After they are deposited in the drop box, UPD takes them to an incinerator in North Fort Myers where they are destroyed.
Not only is the drop box an eco-friendly service, but its construction was also environmentally conscious. Kittleson was able to repurpose an old newspaper rack donated by Breeze Newspapers. To further involve the community, Kittleson had the rack decorated by FGCU student Amanda Lewan.
Kittleson didn’t just have the environment in mind when he built the box. It was also intended to be an outlet for students to dispose of illegal or prescription drugs that might be being misused. No questions will be asked.
“If you know somebody that’s taking prescription drugs and shouldn’t be, you can drop (the medications) off there,” said Kittleson. “We’re OK with that because it is getting it out of the wrong hands, students abusing prescription drugs.”
Other community outreach programs
Kittleson and UPD have also partnered with students on two other community outreach programs throughout the last year: the Free Little Library and the Trauma Teddy Program.
The Free Little Library is an enclosed outdoor bookshelf intended for students and patrons of the Little Eagles Learning Center to donate and receive books free of charge. The library stands outside of the center and was designed by FGCU student and artist Farrah Alkhadra.
The Trauma Teddy Program was developed by Kittleson, but it’s something he says he hopes he won’t have to use. It’s intended to provide children affected by a traumatic event with items that can provide comfort, including coloring pages, crayons, stickers and handmade teddy bears designed by FGCU student Sara Rios. Thanks to Kittleson, every FGCU police vehicle will have a kits ready in case a Trauma Teddy is called to duty.