ODU police named runner-up ‘2017 National Department of the Year’

(Video courtesy of Old Dominion University)

NORFOLK — The Old Dominion Police Department’s ongoing initiative to enhance security in and around the university, using a variety of innovative strategies, recently earned it a second place finish for “2017 National Department of the Year” at the National Campus Safety Summit.

The National Campus Safety Summit is the premier annual conference concerning higher education public safety issues. It highlights the top 25 universities in the country that have increased safety and security in their campus communities.

ODU was recognized for incorporating “innovative engagement and problem-solving strategies and community partnerships and technology” that drove substantive reductions in crime “that fosters a safe living and learning community.”

Summit organizers noted that the university was guided by input from key stakeholders in developing a strategy that included, lighting assessments and enhancements, a “Camera for Safety” program that installed more than 1,700 cameras on campus and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) assessments for new and existing buildings.

ODU police also provided specialized training for its officers and took a leadership role in broadening collaboration with the Student Government Association as well as the Norfolk Police Department, Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control, The Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Additionally, the university implemented the LiveSafe app, which includes a “safe walk” monitoring feature and the ability for users to communicate directly with police through voice calls or texts.

“It’s nice to see that all the hard work and efforts that have been put into place in this police department are being recognized by an independent organization,” said ODU Police Chief Rhonda Harris. “This validates the hard work of our officers; they’re out there hustling.”

The department’s efforts resulted in measurable reductions in campus incidents, including:

  • A 36 percent drop in violent crime on campus
  • A 35 percent reduction in all crime occurring in residence halls
  • A 76 percent reduction in residence hall burglaries
  • An 80 percent drop in total burglaries on campus.

View the YouTube video to learn more about successful community policing initiatives at Old Dominion University that not only effect safety on campus, but also extend to neighboring residents and the business community.

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Adrienne Mayfield is an award-winning, multi-media journalist hailing from Clermont, Fla. She moved to Lynchburg, Va. on a whim when she was 19, and worked her way to Hampton Roads in 2013. Adrienne is passionate about telling people stories via covering public safety and the judicial system. She isn’t afraid to take a heads-on approach to covering crime, including knocking on doors to get the details police aren’t sharing. Adrienne is a 2014 Old Dominion University graduate who still lives within walking distance of the college. You may see her cruising around Downtown Norfolk on her bike, enjoying a sandwich from Grilled Cheese Bistro or playing fetch with her dog, Greta, at the Colonial Place dog park.