Department of Public Safety earns national accreditation
Kennesaw State University’s Department of Public Safety is accustomed to being a model for others in the University System of Georgia‚ setting the standard in recent years through the acquisition of portable defibrillators‚ the addition of an on–campus K–9 unit and a crime rate that ranks among the lowest in the state.
(May 16, 2003) — Kennesaw State University’s Department of Public Safety is accustomed to being a model
for others in the University System of Georgia‚ setting the standard in recent years
through the acquisition of portable defibrillators‚ the addition of an on–campus K–9
unit and a crime rate that ranks among the lowest in the state.
All that good work has not gone unnoticed by those in the law enforcement community. Recently‚ an effort several years in the making came to fruition when Kennesaw State met the standards for accreditation as spelled out by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The accreditation became official March 22‚ making KSU’s police department the first in Georgia’s university system – and one of only 37 agencies statewide – to be so recognized. Nationally‚ only 30 other campus departments can claim that distinction.
"The best efforts of law enforcement go largely unseen‚ and that’s true on this campus‚" said Ted Cochran‚ director of public safety at Kennesaw State for almost 20 years. "The evidence that we’re doing a good job is peace‚ harmony and folks being able to feel secure living here‚ going back and forth to class and being in class."
The accreditation process‚ managed by Assistant Director of Public Safety Kemper Anderson‚ gave the department a way to quantify its efforts to the community. It also provides a measuring stick that will help KSU police officers hone their skills even further in the years to come.
In order to earn its initial three–year accreditation‚ the department was measured against 443 standards set down by CALEA‚ all but 99 of which were applicable to KSU. Of the applicable standards‚ 252 required mandatory compliance‚ and at least 80 percent of those remaining had to be adhered to as well. Kennesaw State went above and beyond that number‚ complying at a rate of 87 percent‚ according to the final report submitted by an independent assessment team following an on–site review in December.
That team‚ led by Cmdr. Brian A. Seastone of the University of Arizona‚ spent several days on campus‚ inspecting equipment and department facilities‚ conducting file reviews and even accompanying officers on patrol. Included in the assessment was a public information session that allowed members of the community to share their views on the department. Those who chose to do so included a young girl who has raised money for police canines‚ as well as members of KSU’s faculty and staff.
The final report had many good things to say about the quality of law enforcement at Kennesaw State University‚ noting‚ "In an academic environment‚ accreditation is synonymous with excellence. The members of this department demonstrated to the team that they are committed to the law enforcement accreditation process and are proud of the service that they provide to the community."
In Cochran’s mind‚ the level of excellence achieved by KSU’s Department of Public Safety can be traced to the high quality of the officers and other support personnel under his charge. The long–time chief believes in empowering his officers and has nothing but respect for those in his command. "The only reason this bumble bee flies is because of the quality of the people that we’ve got‚" he said. "We don’t have a slug. There’s not a single person here that I would want to leave."
The sense of shared responsibility Cochran encourages helps contribute to the proactive nature of the department‚ which takes the lead on all issues related to safety and crime prevention at Kennesaw State.
"Everything that you see about the police department‚ the emergency phones‚ the welcome center‚ that’s all self–generated‚" Cochran said. "Everything that you see about us was the result of a project that got generated internally. Nobody has ever told us‚ ‘You need to go do something.’ We think it is part of our job to recognize problems before they become problems and figure out a way to head them off at the pass."
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.