HD36 - HJR 122 Final Report: Study on Campus Safety

Executive Summary:
During the 2004 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, Delegate Phillip A. Hamilton introduced House Joint Resolution 122 (HJR 122), which directed the Crime Commission to study campus safety at Virginia’s public and private institutions of higher education. Specifically, the resolution directed the Commission to examine the following areas: (i) current Virginia policies, procedures and programs used to promote safety at institutions of higher education; (ii) nature of criminal offenses at Virginia’s public and private institutions of higher education; (iii) use of best practices or models for campus safety nationally; and, (iv) need to develop statewide procedures to ensure the dissemination of information pertaining to best practices for campus safety to Virginia’s public and private institutions of higher education.

The Crime Commission utilized several research methodologies to address the directives of the two-year study mandate on campus safety inside the Commonwealth including: (i) literature review, (ii) field visits to selected institutions, (iii) statistical analysis of reported crimes on campus, (iv) surveys of institutions and other key stakeholders, (v) convening of the Campus Safety Task Force and, (vi) creation of best practices for campus safety. The Campus Safety Task Force submitted legislative initiatives and best practice recommendations to the Crime Commission at the December 14th, 2005 meeting. At the January 10th, 2006 meeting, Crime Commission Members adopted twenty-seven of the thirty Task Force best practices and all the legislative recommendations. Legislative recommendations were included in House Bill 1036 and Senate Bill 560.


Legislative Recommendations for Campus Safety

Recommendation #1
The General Assembly should expand the Department of Criminal Justice Services’ (DCJS) School Safety Center to include an advisory campus safety division that would specialize in post-secondary safety issues including, but not limited to:

Specialized campus police officer and security officer training;
Technical support;
Establishment and management of a database for campus safety and security information sharing;
Role in laying out parameters that may assist colleges in establishing uniform record-keeping for disciplinary records and statistics, such as campus crime logs, judicial referrals and Clery Act statistics; and,
Provide support for the establishment and management of campus law enforcement, investigations, statistics, judicial referrals, and all other policies and procedures utilized by campus police and security departments.

The Secretary of Public Safety should designate the Deputy Secretary to work with the School Safety Center in establishing the aforementioned duties.

Recommendation #2
The Department of Criminal Justice Services’ School Safety Center, in collaboration with the Crime Commission, Virginia Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (VACLEA), Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and other state agencies, shall convene an annual state-wide summit between campus police and security departments, local law enforcement agencies with a campus in its jurisdiction, and any other appropriate entities.

Recommendation #3
Models for mutual-aid agreements, concurrent jurisdictions and memoranda of understanding between campus police/security agencies and other public safety organizations should be developed and/or updated by DCJS and made available to the field.

Recommendation #4
Department of Criminal Justice Services, with the assistance of the Attorney General’s Office will help to develop guidelines for colleges and universities regarding dissemination of judicial council findings.

Best Practice Recommendations for Campus Safety

Best Practice #1
Each college and university should establish a Safety and Security Committee(s) to determine the necessary mechanisms to ensure campus safety and the prevention of crime. The purpose of the Committee is to encourage communication and collaboration across the campus community, as well as provide an advisory role in protocol development, such as appropriate educational programming for its campus. The Committee should meet, at a minimum, quarterly and should report to the President or his designee.

Consideration for membership on the Committee should be given to representatives from:

Student Government Association (SGA);
Greek life;
Counseling/women’s center;
Staff/faculty; and,
Other representatives, as deemed appropriate.

Best Practice #2
Colleges and universities should apply Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) in planning and maintaining facilities and grounds.

Smaller colleges and universities should partner with other law enforcement agencies in implementing CPTED.
Police and security personnel should be actively involved in the review of plans for new buildings and building renovations to ensure that security concerns are addressed.
Security concerns should include: landscape, access and key control systems, interior and exterior lighting, windows and doors, traffic safety (reflective tape for crosswalks, etc.) and electronic detection systems.

Best Practice #3
When developing new student orientation curriculum, institutions should work with campus police/security departments, SGA and other groups to establish the appropriate framework in addressing inappropriate/illegal student behavior. There should be multiple approaches to present the immediate and long-term effects of being arrested to both students and their parents. Approaches should include a mandatory overview at student orientation followed by supplemental meetings with residence life, student groups (i.e., Greek Life), and other organizations.

Best Practice #4
Each college and university should offer multiple courses/training sessions of Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) with certified instructors.

Best Practice #5
Each college and university should consider establishing trained and supervised student employees as an augmentation to security services. At a minimum, such students should receive 32 hours of training.

Best Practice #6
Each college and university with a police department should consider establishing a student police academy to give the campus community a working knowledge of the campus police department’s personnel, policies, goals and objectives.

Best Practice #7
Each college and university should embrace the community policing philosophy and establish several programmatic initiatives in order to establish better relationships with the campus community. (Examples include: Adopt-A-Hall, “park, walk, and talk,” bicycle patrols, satellite offices, and silent witness programs).

Best Practice #8
Each campus police and security department should have a written policy and procedure manual, which gives consideration to the standards set forth by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission (VLEPSC) and/or the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA).

Best Practice #9
Campus police departments should seek accreditation by an appropriate accrediting agency, such as CALEA, VLEPSC or IACLEA.

Best Practice #10
Campus security departments should seek accreditation by an appropriate accrediting agency, such as the International Association for Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA).

Best Practice #11
Each college and university should encourage and participate in professional development provided by regional, state (VACLEA), national, and/or other organizations.

Best Practice #12
The Chief of Police or Director of Security and senior staff as deemed appropriate should belong to one or more professional organizations or associations to stay up-to-date with current practices. (Examples: VACLEA, IACLEA, VACP, IACP, IAHSS, ASIS).

Best Practice #13
Campus police and security departments should meet annually with their local community officials, such as Fire Chiefs, Police Chiefs or designees, building officials, Emergency Medical Services representatives, Commonwealth’s Attorney, ABC Regional Supervisor, City/County Manager or designee, City/County public relations representative, and other representatives as deemed appropriate.

Best Practice #14
Campus police and security departments should meet annually with their college’s or university’s officials including Vice-Presidents for Student and Business Affairs, Housing Directors, Judicial Affairs head administrator, college public relations person and other representatives as deemed appropriate.

Best Practice #15
Each college and university should seek inclusion in regional disaster plans consistent with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and other regional and local plans.

Best Practice #16
Campus police departments should consider seeking concurrent jurisdiction with their surrounding locality.

Best Practice #17
Colleges and universities should consider working with their institutional research personnel to develop a survey tool that addresses campus safety. This survey should be administered on a regular basis to students, faculty and staff.

Best Practice #18
Every police department should have written procedures for the investigation of crimes.

Best Practice #19
Every police department should have written protocols for dealing with victims, including referrals for victim services.

Best Practice #20
Each school should develop a mechanism to identify each case involving actions by a student that could be considered criminal in a court of law that has occurred and be able to track the outcome of that case both on the campus level of disciplinary process and the court disciplinary process, if this so occurs.

Best Practice #21
Each college and university should develop and adopt a set of written sanctions that are available to address actions that would be violations of the law, including alcohol and drug violations. Responses to violations could include strong or progressive sanctions. (Examples: “Three Strikes You’re Out,” removal from residence halls, publicizing to students and parents, and/or expulsion).

Best Practice #22
Campus police and security departments should receive institutional support for their alcohol control and enforcement programs.

Best Practice #23
Commonwealth campus police and security departments should develop a system for sharing information regarding violations occurring on their campus that are committed by students from other Commonwealth colleges and universities. This system will allow for student conduct on other colleges and universities to be acknowledged and dealt with by that student’s college or university, as well as the campus or local law enforcement where the incident took place.

Best Practice #24
Institutions should designate a liaison between the Commonwealth’s Attorney office and campus police or security departments regarding criminal investigations.

Campus police and security departments;
Local law enforcement;
Chief financial officer or designee;
Maintenance/facilities departments;
Student, athletic/intramural/recreation departments;
Environmental health and safety;
Residence life;
Emergency planners;

Best Practice #25
Whenever there is any crime on campus, the student victim should be informed of his or her right to bring their case to the magistrate.

Best Practice #26
Campus police and security departments should consult with the Commonwealth Attorney as soon as possible regarding any violent felonious crimes.[1]

Best Practice #27
Colleges and universities may consider establishing proocols addressing student interaction between all involved parties after a criminal action is alleged.
[1]. Note: Best Practice 26 received much discussion at the January 10th, 2006 meeting. When implementing the best practice, Members desired to have the following taken into consideration: Additional wording might include “upon consultation with the victim(s), when possible” as to not set up a situation where the victim’s right to remain anonymous is impaired.