Editor’s Picks: Amy’s 10 Favorite Campus Safety Articles from 2022
My favorite articles from this year cover topics such as site assessments, comfort K9s, and the importance of inclusion and representation.
For me, personally, 2022 was a more enjoyable year than 2021. My husband and I have gotten into the groove of raising two young children and we’ve been able to share a lot more “normal” experiences with them since the pandemic eased up. We spent a lot of meaningful time with friends and family this year and it *almost* feels like we’ve made up for lost time.
Professionally, my favorite experience was attending this year’s Campus Safety Conference in Maryland. Getting to catch up with people in the industry that I hadn’t seen in person for three years and meeting so many new people as well was wonderful. It was also my first time away without my children for more than one night, making it feel almost more like a vacation than work. I mean…an entire hotel room to myself, sleeping without the whir of a baby monitor, no diapers to change, getting to drive to the airport in peace…five stars.
Editorially, we’ve covered so many different topics this year, and it has been a breath of fresh air to not have so much of the focus be on COVID’s impact on school safety and security. As always, many of my favorites are contributed articles from our readers and associates who are the ones doing the “boots on the ground” work of keeping schools and hospitals safe.
It’s always really hard to pick just 10 favorites, but here they are. Happy New Year, everyone.
1. 5 Key Components of an Inclusive College Campus
In this article, consultant Sarah Daren speaks to how college campuses can and should create an inclusive campus that is accessible to all, no matter their background. Having an inclusive campus encourages diversity, and diverse environments offer students opportunities to think critically about their own beliefs while understanding and respecting the beliefs of others. All of this, in turn, makes campuses safer.
2. Recruiting and Retaining Female Employees in Campus Security and Law Enforcement
Continuing on the topic of diversity, it’s widely agreed that diversity in law enforcement is important for many reasons, including community relations and the safety of both officers and the general public.
“People from different cultures and backgrounds have different demeanors and ways of carrying themselves,” Major Albert Guerra of the Miami Police Department said in an interview with Rasmussen University. “Diversity in the force ensures that we are prepared for these cultural differences and help us avoid unfortunate misunderstandings.”
One area law enforcement lacks in regard to diversity is the number of female officers. Only about 13% of full-time law enforcement officers in the U.S. are female, despite the fact that women make up 60% of the U.S. workforce.
In this panel discussion, three campus public safety and security veterans discuss how K-12 schools, colleges, and healthcare facilities can recruit and retain female officers.
3. Conducting a School Site Assessment This Summer? Test Your Skills with This Quiz
Consisting of photos from real site assessments, we ask readers to spot the vulnerabilities. These are always popular because it’s a change of pace from the usual content we share but it is also practical. The leaders at these schools took the time to hire a security consultant to better protect students and also help them prioritize their security improvements.
If a campus is looking to conduct its own assessment, it can be done with free resources from government agencies, including SITE ASSESS, a mobile application for education agencies provided by the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center.
4. Free Federal Resources to Strengthen Campus Physical Security and Prevent School Violence
Speaking of free resources, this article is extremely helpful for schools/districts working with dwindling and restrictive budgets, which, let’s be real, is the reality for most.
On top of limited budgets, state and local school safety requirements continue to increase and staff retention is decreasing. Taking advantage of these free resources will help school leaders prioritize their safety and security needs without spending a penny — a win for all.
5. A Comfort K-9 and Food Pantry: How One Campus Police Department Supports Student Minds and Bodies
This was one of my favorite interviews I conducted this year. Anything related to animals instantly piques my interest but perhaps my favorite part of this interview was hearing how Stephanie Hill, chief of police at Central State University and also a 2022 Director of the Year finalist, connected with Alice Cary, then-chief of police at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, at the 2021 Campus Safety Conference. The pair discusses how best to go about establishing a comfort K-9 program.
Hearing stories about Campus Safety Conference attendees creating partnerships with other attendees that lead to real, meaningful change brings us a lot of joy. These industry conferences are all about learning and making connections to help make schools safer.
6. Student and Teacher Mental Health: Is It Just Stress or Something More?
While a tough topic to discuss, this interview was meaningful to me because I have a lot of family members and friends who are teachers. My mother is a preschool teacher, my brother is a high school math teacher, and my sister-in-law is a high school history and psychology teacher, just to name a few.
In our discussion, Kati Garner, who is the Northwest Regional Training Consultant for the Colorado School Safety Resource Center (CSSRC), spoke about differentiating between normal stress levels and a mental health crisis, and how to help students experiencing either. She also voiced her concern for teachers, stating they are “struggling at an all-time high right now.”
I truly enjoy speaking with people like Kati who are so passionate about what they do. Speaking with people who are dedicated to improving the well-being of others is special. Kati even graciously presented on the topic at this year’s Campus Safety Conferences and Campus Safety Online Summit.
7. The Crucial Role of Family Liaison Officers Following a School Crisis
At the 2022 Campus Safety Conferences, Lieutenant J. Paul Vance, who was the chief spokesperson for the Connecticut State Police when the Sandy Hook tragedy occurred, walked attendees through the numerous issues that arose during the days, weeks, and months following the shooting.
In part, he shared insight into law enforcement’s involvement in the response, investigation, and recovery. Campus Safety has covered the Sandy Hook tragedy extensively over the last decade but this was the first time I remember hearing about the painstaking tasks accomplished by family liaison officers. Twenty-six officers and troopers were carefully selected and assigned to the families who lost loved ones in the shooting. They kept the press away while the families grieved, they went back into the school to collect victims’ personal items, and they went grocery shopping with them for support, among many other things.
Hearing this aspect of the tragedy helped humanize police officers a bit more and emphasized that they are more than just people with arresting powers. They, along with the victims’ families, survivors, and all other first responders from that day, will forever be changed by this event.
8. The K-Factor in Emergency Management: Caring For Your Own Kids During a Campus Crisis
This article resonated with me since I have children. While my job isn’t nearly as demanding as an emergency manager, I think all parents can relate to having to make difficult decisions when it comes to their family.
Emergency management is a significant commitment that often requires sacrifice. Sometimes that means sacrificing time with family to fulfill a responsibility to protect an entire campus.
In this collective article, six emergency managers with a combined 125 years of experience — and with children — provide insight into how they balance their work commitments with their family commitments.
9. 6 Things High School Counselors Can Do to Keep Their Graduating Students Safe In College
I really enjoyed this article because we mostly cover K-12 and higher ed separately. This bridged the gap and shows that it isn’t one type of eductors’ job to keep students and staff safe. Safety needs to be emphasized throughout a person’s entire student lifecycle. K-12 schools can help lay a foundation for college so students don’t go into a completely new and foreign environment without any information on how to keep themselves and others safe.
I also enjoyed this article because we don’t often cover something from the perspective of a school counselor. The author, Elliot Cox, is a school safety analyst for the Idaho School Safety and Security Program and has contributed several articles to Campus Safety.
10. The Role of Climate and Culture in School Safety
According to Guy Bliesner, school safety and security analyst and author of this article, campus climate and culture are foundational in the creation and maintenance of a safer and more secure campus for all. Campus Safety couldn’t agree more.
You can have all the SROs, all the metal detectors, and all the surveillance cameras in the world, but if you don’t have a strong culture and climate on your campus, all other safety and security means are moot.
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