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University of West Georgia
Public Safety: Annual Report FY04
The Department of Public Safety is responsible for providing police protection, transportation services, parking control and locksmith service to the University Community. The police operation serves the campus 24 hours a day, preventing crime through constant patrol, presenting educational programs and investigating and prosecuting those who commit crimes on campus. The Parking Services Division provides reliable intra-campus shuttle service to all facilities on campus. The Division is also tasked with providing safe and reliable transportation to student groups traveling off campus to participate in athletic, academic or social events. Parking control personnel, through enforcement of the University’s parking code and maintenance of the traffic and parking signage, keep traffic flowing smoothly through campus. The Lock Shop maintains the security of the campus by maintaining the locks, re-keying doors as necessary, and keeping track of the personnel issued keys to the campus.
Department Statement of Goals/Assessment Proces/Assessment Results
Public Safety seeks to provide as safe a campus so as to allow students and faculty to teach, learn and perform research without fear of crime or disturbance. The Department seeks to provide through the shuttle service and parking enforcement, the orderly and rapid movement of people throughout the campus. By maximizing the use of existing parking facilities through an efficient transportation system, the University is better able utilize its limited resources to support the academic mission of the University.
Crime statistics are monitored to assess any change in the amount of crime as well as to determine “hot spots”. Identifying trouble spots allows us to move personnel into the area in order to deter future incidents. Parking spaces are inventoried at the beginning of the school year. We then count the available spaces during the peak times. From this we are able to project if additional parking must be provided.
The Department Statement of Outcomes/An Example
Two years ago, according to the crime statistics provided by our records management system (RMS), we were experiencing a significant number of criminal acts in a particular residence hall. Vandalism, alcohol and drug problems as well as some acts of violence were noted from the review. This information was used to justify the addition of two additional officer positions, which were to be assigned to the residence halls. In January of this year we were able to begin patrol with one officer (the second was in the academy). Though we continued to have problems in the hall 26 arrests were made of which all were referred to Residence Life for disciplinary action. Numerous other violations were noted which did not result in arrest but did result in additional referrals for disciplinary action. Overall, the level of violence was reduced significantly, while other criminal acts and acts of disorder were also reduced. This improved the overall quality of life in the hall.
We hope to have two officers in the hall when classes begin in the Fall. A third officer has been appropriated to Public Safety in the next budget. That position will also be assigned to the halls when filled and trained. The bike patrol supervisor will monitor the halls using the data recorded in the RMS to ensure we are in the areas where the problems are.
Health of the Department
Last year it was noted that our salary scale was not sufficient to attract and retain qualified personnel. As metro Atlanta expands into the West Georgia area demand for qualified police personnel has increased and salaries offered by the cities and counties in this area have risen substantially. Last year it was noted in this report that the salary paid our officers was $6,000 less than Carrollton and Villa Rica. This year the Vice President provided a base increase, which has reduced the discrepancy almost in half. The surrounding agencies will also be getting increases but the boost does provide a start and demonstrates to the staff that the University is interested in providing comparable salaries for the work performed. It is hoped that similar increases will be made in subsequent years so that we are able to reach the goal of providing salaries within 95% of what our main competitors are paying.
Another factor, which we must contend with, is the cost of providing the required certification training. During this current budget year, the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council stopped providing meals and lodging reimbursement for officers in the academy. This resulted in this department having to spend approximately $4,000 in travel money for two officers to attend the academy of which one failed. This makes it even more important to retain personnel or be able to attract certified officers to avoid this cost. The salary issue is the greatest concern facing Public Safety.
We need an additional officer for Day Watch to replace the one lost in the budget cut of two years ago. The officers run from call to call and seldom have time to do preventative patrol. We need an additional dispatcher that would work a split between Evening and Morning Watch to ensure two dispatchers are on during the critical hours. I would also like to provide the additional 416 hours needed to make the part-time dispatcher on the Morning Watch full-time as well.
We need an additional locksmith. The size of the campus is increasing and so are the demands on our sole locksmith. With the new residence halls and Adamson Hall coming on line, he is now responsible for 1100 additional locks and doors. We do not have a preventative maintenance program nor do we have a campus wide re-keying ability. In the long run we would save the campus money and lessen liability if such programs were implemented.
In the future we need to have a training officer who can coordinate the training program for the Department. The training requirements for the police and shuttle operators are becoming more extensive. Coordinating personnel to attend off campus classes and maintaining records for certification purposes is becoming a burden to current staff who have other assigned duties.
The Department continues to improve in technology, training, and planning. In addition to standard classes needed to maintain certification, this year we hosted classes on Workplace Violence, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Customer Service. The workplace violence class was open to local law enforcement as well as campus administrators. The Weapons of Mass Destruction was co-hosted with the International Chiefs of Police and was attended by UWG officers as well as police officers from throughout Georgia and the southeast. We opened our customer service class to the campus as well and six other departments took advantage of this training.
We replaced 1/3 of our computers, which is the standard we have established for the Department. This allows us to take advantage of new software and prevents us from having to replace all of our systems at once.
The Incident Command Center was provided with emergency food supplies and additional cots were purchased so that we can now establish a 50 bed emergency shelter if needed. We have also increased our generator capacity in the event of a campus-wide power failure.
We provided police personnel to the G-8 summit in Brunswick, which not only was helpful to the State but also provided our officers with valuable experience.
We initiated an off campus apartment shuttle which was very successful. Some days over 300 students rode the shuttle to campus instead of taking their cars. Though ridership waned in the Spring when more parking was available, the shuttle helped tremendously in relieving congestion at the critical times during the Fall.
In the past year Public Safety has provided the following training to its staff.
1. Sent one staff member to Boston for annual training on the records management system
2. Sent one officer to the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators conference in San Jose California.
3. The Department’s firearms instructors attended the annual meeting of the Georgia Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors.
4. The Director attended the International Chiefs of Police Conference in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. He also attended the winter and summer conferences of the Georgia Chiefs of Police in Augusta and Savannah respectively. He attended the Governor’s Emergency Management Conference in Savannah as well as the quarterly meetings of the Georgia Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
5. All patrol officers received at minimum their 20 hours of required training. Most officers received additional training hours and supervisors attended the Workplace Violence class.
Other Awards and Distinctions
In 2003 the Director received the Member of the Year Award from the Georgia Association of Campus law Enforcement Administrators.
A member of the parking staff was selected as employee of the year for the Division of Business and Finance.