A national organization presented La Verne’s Campus Safety Department with an award July 29 for increasing officer training, security equipment and making other school safety improvements.
It occurred during the 9th Annual National School Safety Conference in Orlando, Fla. La Verne was the only higher education institution recognized during the event, which was hosted by the Maryland-based School Safety Advocacy Council. The group provides specialized services and training for law enforcement, school departments, colleges and universities.
“I’m very, very proud of the people that I work with and I’m very proud of the work they’ve done in support of the work of the university,” Campus Safety Director Stan Skipworth said.
The department has increased the number of security cameras on and off-campus from 24 to 76 this year. The number of blue emergency telephone kiosks has jumped in the last few months from three to 10. The department created a smart phone campus safety application called LeoSafe. And training for officers increased from 16 hours of baseline training to 108, Skipworth said.
The extra training covers areas such as emergency preparedness, crisis intervention and certification from a California Peace Officer’s Standards and Training Certified Academy. Officers are also required to conduct a one-day ride along with a La Verne Police Department officer.
University President Devorah Lieberman said the Campus Safety Department has worked diligently to create a university community that is the safest environment for students, faculty and staff.
“This award is well deserved and we are proud that the University of La Verne has the distinction of being the only college or university to be recognized this year by the School Safety Advocacy Council,” Lieberman said.
The organization also recognized La Verne for having several programs focused on the role of the campus community in safety.
Skipworth established Leos Caring for Leos – or LC4L – last year. Its purpose is to encourage people at the school to report suspicious activity or emergencies to campus officers, so officers can respond quicker. With the help of Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Loretta Rahmani, and Elleni Koulos, director of counseling and psychological services, Skipworth also created the Behavioral Intervention Team to help students, faculty or staff members who may be in distress.
La Verne’s athletic department created Step UP! to motivate students to help other people on campus in times of trouble.
“When we were recognized, they touched on all of that,” Skipworth said. “I was really proud of that. It was neat to know that our approach was a holistic one.”
Skipworth credits the school’s safety improvements and the award to partnerships on- and off-campus, including relationships with La Verne city and Los Angeles County officials, along with other higher education institutions.
“None of this is possible without the tremendous relationships with people across campus with our day to day mission to keep the university as safe as possible,” he said.
Clive K. Houston-Brown, Vice President for Facilities & Technology & Chief Information Officer praised the numerous awards the department has received since Skipworth took the helm of the department in 2013.
“He has worked tirelessly to raise the level of professionalism, training, and capabilities of the department and the University is receiving national exposure and recognition for it,” Houston-Brown said.