The Safe and Secure Campus

Toward Safer and Stronger Campus Communities

Safety on campus

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In 2013, congress appropriated funding through the Bureau of Justice Assistance for the creation of an organization that could serve as a clearinghouse of information for campus public safety. The organization is the National Center for Campus Public Safety (National Center, www.nccpsafety.org), headquartered in Burlington, VT. College Planning& Management recently spoke with Kim Richmond, National Center director, about how the organization is accomplishing its goals and serving its constituency.

CPM: What was the need that led to the formation of the National Center?

Richmond: The National Center for Campus Public Safety was established with a $2.3 million bipartisan grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). In consultation with key stakeholders and federal partners, BJA developed a competitive solicitation and received proposals to create and host the National Center. Through this process, a cooperative agreement and subsequent funding were awarded to Burlington, VTbased Margolis Healy, a national consulting firm specializing in campus safety, security and regulatory compliance for higher education and K–12.

The National Center became a reality after nearly a decade of discussion within the public safety community. In 2004, The National Summit on Campus Public Safety was held in Baltimore. The summit provided an opportunity for discussion and collaboration on more than 20 key campus safety issues. One of the recommendations that came out of the Summit was the need for a National Center for Campus Public Safety because there was not a centralized location for the myriad campus public safety resources and initiatives being undertaken nationwide or for the fulfillment of critical information needs.

CPM: How did the Center get its start?

Richmond: Once funding was awarded to Margolis Healy, the acquisition of office space and hiring staff began. An advisory board was established that consists of representatives of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) College and University Section, the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), the Virginia Tech Victim (VTV) Family Outreach Foundation and the Clery Center for Security on Campus. The board’s role is to help shape the national agenda and priorities for the National Center. Once the positions of director, research associates, and training and technical assistance coordinator were filled, we began developing content for our website and developing training curriculum.

CPM: What has the National Center accomplished in the short time it has been in existence?

Richmond: Our original deliverables changed just as we opened our offices. In the Not Alone report, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault charged National Center with developing a Trauma-Informed Sexual Assault Investigation and Adjudication curriculum for campus officials. To meet this mandate, we have worked with nationally recognized subject matter experts in the fields of sexual and gender-based violence investigations, Title IX, the Clery Act, victim’s advocacy, student conduct and psychology to develop and deliver an educational program based on this groundbreaking curriculum.

That was our big priority in addition to getting the website up and going. Our website is fully functional and is a robust source of information.

  • We work with our federal partners and other nonprofit organizations and affiliates who all have done good work and produced documents. We have relevant, fully searchable information compiled in one place.
  • We have a calendar of events that provides information regarding various training opportunities relevant to campus training in safety nationwide.
  • We launched a free webinar series last year, Campus Public Safety Online. To date, we have provided 10 webinars for free to the public on various topics, including threat assessment, global safety/study abroad and sexual assault. All of
    our webinars are free and archived on our website.
  • We have an “info at” email address and personally answer calls that come in requesting information. An example of a recent request was regarding the pros and cons of using body-worn cameras. Our research associates compiled all the relevant information on the topic and forwarded it to the requester in a timely manner.

We have also accomplished smaller, but no less important, initiatives. For example, our research associates write Weekly Snapshot, a weekly email communication delivered to our opt-in email list. We choose two topics each week and put together a couple of paragraphs that include quick links to resources. They’re concise briefings, which are helpful.

We have published white papers in partnership with others. Our Guide to Social Media in the Education Environment is intended to help those interested in the safety and security of a school district, college or university with insight into the use and impact of social media. The guide provides information on social media and its uses in educational settings, as well as the benefits and challenges; threat alert services and procedures to consider when a threat is received; prevention strategies and guidelines you can share; and developing a social media policy.

Two Title IX Summits were held to bring together campus officials from around the country to discuss unresolved issues around Title IX and other related legislation, including the Clery Act and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) amendments. Campus police administrators, deans of students, Title IX staff, Clery staff and others met to work toward better compliance — not only with the letter of the law but, far more importantly, with the spirit of the law. Summit participants created a comprehensive list of issues and promising practices to consider. Two documents were produced from these discussions and are available on our website.

We have facilitated 13 focus group discussions involving hundreds of college and university officials and partners on the topics of Clery Act compliance, off-campus policing, global safety and sexual assault.

In partnership with the International Association of Emergency Management, Disaster Resilient Universities Network and the Community Service Center at the University of Oregon, we have conducted a Higher Education National Emergency Management Needs Assessment survey. Promising practices and policy recommendations generated from the findings will be vetted with key stakeholders, including university presidents and federal officials.

CPM: What is the National Center working on now?

Richmond: We have further focus group discussions planned. Future topics will be marijuana legalization impacts on campus, campus carry legislation, urban campus policing and international student safety.

We are partnering with the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University to provide 10 Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) Train-the-Trainer courses specifically to college and university campuses across the nation, which started in April 2016. CRASE course participants receive essential tools for training campuses, schools, businesses and community members on their response options if confronted with an active shooter event.

We are also working on our sustainability plan. We are developing a certificate program that will be a professional development opportunity for those tasked with campus safety on campus.

Our free webinar series will continue and expand with additional paid offerings launching later this year.

CPM: What else would you like to share with the readers of College Planning & Management?

Richmond: I can’t overemphasize the importance of the partnerships we’ve developed with federal agencies, nonprofit groups, for-profit organizations and professional associations. We have developed efficient relationships and are working collaboratively to improve campus safety. There are a lot of folks doing a lot of good work across the nation in the interest of campus safety.

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.

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