UWG Forges Strategic Partnerships to Promote a Secure Campus

Safety and security are supported by University of West Georgia top administrators and the entire campus, creating a stable learning environment for students.

When Dr. Kyle Marrero became president of the University of West Georgia (UWG), he made it abundantly clear that having an actively engaged and connected leadership and student population was a top priority. Safety and security were important components of this strategic initiative and are now part of an overarching mindset and philosophy – a calculated, top-down approach that envelops all aspects of the institution and is reflected in the processes, procedures and standards embraced by the university.

Security technology is, of course, critical to UWG. However, the university also takes a personal approach that embeds a security culture into all campus community representatives, emanating from the president and other campus leadership, to the chief of police and director of residence life, faculty, staff, students and even members of the off-campus community.

Campus At-a-Glance
The University of West Georgia’s (UWG) is a residential, doctoral-granting, comprehensive institution of higher education in Carrollton, Ga. It has 12,834 students with a 5.1 percent growth rate from 2014 to 2015. Residence halls have a 98 percent occupancy rate, and there are 1,500 full- and part-time faculty. UWG covers 645 acres and has more than 150 clubs and organizations.

UWG has a sworn police department with 28 officers and eight full-time dispatchers at the central command center on campus. Officers are armed with a variety of both non-lethal and lethal weapons to help them address any security challenges the campus may face.

UWG Equipment List

  • Ademco Vista 128 and Vista 250 alarm panels
  • Lenel OnGuard access control head end software; with 1/3 hardwired and 2/3 wireless on exterior entrances on all campus buildings
  • Basis V Offline access control on IT closets
  • STANLEY WI-Q Wireless Access control of Residence Life dorm entrances, 800-plus units
  • Avigilon camera system
  • Key Systems Inc. key control cabinets
  • UWG Wolf Alert Emergency Communications System
  • UWG Wolf Guardian Student Profile software application

“Everything we do is designed to create a safe environment to help students succeed,” says Marrero. “Here we are in 2016 dealing with some of the most challenging times in our history in terms of threats to safety, and the fact of the matter is that things can happen anywhere.” 

As such, the university takes a holistic approach to how it deals with some of the challenges of protecting its expansive campus. There are no gates or other outward signs of safety and security, but it’s there; from the outside in and inside out – all arising from a single goal of creating an environment where learning can be the focus and safety can create peace of mind.

Keeping this in mind, security decisions are not limited to exclusive personnel or police. Instead, all stakeholders are involved – such as faculty, staff, students, parents and local community leaders – in a proactive, comprehensive plan that allows students to focus on their education. Knowing that policies and procedures are developed, refined and in place helps mitigate a variety of security scenarios that could develop.

RELATED: Support from the Top Helps UWG Police Department Succeed

UWG Students Engage, Participate in Safety Efforts
A good example of the school’s overall philosophy is UWG’s engaged student body. A focus on security education starts before students even begin classes. University police officers lead sessions during freshman orientation that provide information ranging from policies and procedures to basic protective measures students can adopt. That education continues once students are on campus as officers make regular appearances in various classes, such as UWG 1101, to cover safety tips (residence hall safety, using the buddy system, etc.) that encourage students to do their part in making the campus more secure. Additionally, officers provide active-shooter training to any group of faculty or staff, and any class if their professor requests it.

Students are also encouraged to download UWG’s custom Wolf Guardian app and sign up for Wolf Alert notifications on their phones. This app turns any smartphone into a panic button and will send that person’s profile and GPS location to dispatch. All students, faculty and staff automatically receive Wolf Alert emails that come directly from UWG Police when there is an imminent threat to the campus, a serious weather advisory or even crime in a nearby area that is popular with students.

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