7 Benefits of NOVA PD’s Community Outreach Program
Chief Daniel Dusseau and Lt. John Weinstein of the Northern Virginia Community College Police Department give seven reasons why a community outreach program is pivotal to campus safety.
While campus police endure rigorous training unique to the challenges of a college or university setting, participation from all community members is required in order to keep a campus as safe as possible.
Campus police at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) in Springfield recognized the fact that they cannot prevent all crimes, which ultimately makes individual campus community members responsible for their own safety.
As a result, the NOVA Police Department implemented a successful community outreach program that includes two dedicated officers and emphasizes the importance of situational awareness and self-protection.
The school’s community outreach program includes monthly trainings (active shooter, crimes against women, bystander intervention, etc.) on the college’s six campuses and three centers, monthly publication of a public safety newsletter, sponsorship of community events and classroom lectures on campus safety and security.
A culmination of efforts, including the community outreach program, can be attributed to a significant decrease in crime on NOVA’s campus. From 2010 to 2016, crime at NOVA has been halved and 2017’s crime rate was significantly lower than 2016’s.
Here are seven benefits of a community outreach program, according to Chief Daniel Dusseau and Lieutenant John Weinstein of the NOVA Police Department:
- People possess information that enables them to avoid dangerous situations and respond effectively to those they encounter.
- This preparedness not only keeps people safer, it also protects the institution from post-crisis lawsuits alleging failure to address the college community’s safety and security needs.
- The possession of safety information, such as leaving backpacks and parcels when evacuating from an active shooter, is a force multiplier that enhances the police response by allowing more timely and direct engagement with the shooter(s).
- Such empowerment shows police in the positive and professional light they deserve and showcases them as loadbearing and integral contributors to the college’s academic mission. This positive reputation increases departmental morale and, in turn, recruitment, retention and service to the institution.
- This positive reputation and respect for police as professionals also result in greater willingness of campus community members to report criminal activities and concerning behaviors to police.
- Perceptions of police professionalism and of their positive and unique contributions to the overall college mission support agency funding requests during budgetary deliberations.
- The reputation of a safe campus enhances the recruitment and retention of students and quality faculty and staff.
Chief Daniel Dusseau (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Lt. John Weinstein (email@example.com) are with the Northern Virginia Community College Police Department.
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