Public Safety and University Police named nation’s top safety department
The National Campus Safety Summit recognizes community-oriented policing and emergency response
KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 2, 2017) — The National Campus Safety Summit recently named Kennesaw State’s Department of Public Safety and University Police as its 2017 “Department of the Year” for its student and campus safety initiatives.
The University’s Department of Public Safety and Police was selected from among the nation’s top universities involved with the National Campus Safety Summit, a conference focused on higher education campus safety.
“This national recognition is a tremendous honor for the Department of Public Safety and Police, and for Kennesaw State, and speaks volumes to the extensive efforts that our public safety personnel have made to train, collaborate and educate on safety and security issues to make the campus a safer community,” said KSU President Sam Olens. “The strength of these innovative safety initiatives has already saved lives.”
From a Campus Safety Day to a high-tech mobile safety app to a drug-administering program to save those who have overdosed, Kennesaw State’s department was honored for its renewed focus on community-oriented policing and integration in keeping with the U.S. President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
In 2015, when Kennesaw State consolidated with Southern Polytechnic State University, two police departments and one public safety department merged into the University’s new Department of Public Safety and Police. The new department extended beyond police services and established the Office of Victim Services, Office of Emergency Management and Office of Public Safety Systems.
The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) plays an active role in campus safety and security. Emergency Management personnel train crises coordinators throughout the campus, with more than 200 volunteers prepared to assist with outreach efforts, mitigation programs and emergency response. In coordination with the KSU Police, OEM also collaborates with neighboring public safety and law enforcement agencies on emergency response drills on the KSU campuses.
Another initiative, led by the Office of Victim Services (OVS), implemented the carrying by KSU police officers of Naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Since the program’s start, KSU Police have responded to drug overdose calls near campus, reversing the drug effects and saving lives in five incidences involving individuals not affiliated with the University.
OVS also has trained victim advocates who are on call to serve the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses and who work cooperatively with the institution’s Title IX Office, the Women’s Resources and Interpersonal Violence Prevention Center and the KSU Police. The department offers a nationally endorsed Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) course, a self-defense program taught by the University’s 17 certified R.A.D. instructors that incorporates specialized simulation techniques and equipment. R.A.D. courses have surged in popularity among KSU students since first taught on campus in 2002.
Within the Department, the Office of Public Safety Systems manages the University’s camera system and electronic access control, and supports technology initiatives, which includes the deployment of body-worn cameras for police officers and laptop installation in patrol cars. In partnership with various campus partners, the Office has expanded security camera coverage in the University’s five parking decks and upgraded the entry access system for students in on-campus housing.
In late 2015, the Department launched LiveSafe, a free mobile smartphone app that provides students, faculty, staff and campus visitors direct and seamless contact with campus safety officials on a broad range of safety issues. Since the app was rolled out to the campus community, more than 775 tips have been submitted.
As part of its community outreach efforts, the Department sponsors a Campus Safety Day to educate the campus community on crime prevention and safety, offering flu shots, fire extinguisher training, safety demonstrations and tours of the unit’s Mobile Command Center during the daylong event on each campus.
The entire Department includes 112 full-time employees, of which 62 are sworn personnel. A new internship program within the department has attracted KSU students who are earning undergraduate degrees in criminal justice, conflict management, communication and marketing. A Law Enforcement Explorer Post program, a Citizens Police Academy and a Public Safety Advisory Committee also were established to increase shared governance.
With its numerous exercises and training initiatives, the Department also was recently named a 2017 Clery Compliance Program of the Year from the National Association of Clery Compliance Officers and Professionals, for the Office of Victim Services’ work in implementing required training for every university employee in reporting criminal activities in compliance with the Clery Act.
“KSU Public Safety and Police are committed to serving the campus community in a way that will enrich the overall educational mission by providing a safe and secure campus,” said Interim Chief of Police Edward Stephens.
Kennesaw State’s Department of Public Safety and Police will be honored at Safe Campus, the National Campus Safety Summit, in Las Vegas, Feb. 20-22, 2018.
– Tiffany Capuano