Because of its high standards and commitment to professionalism and inclusivity, Chapman University’s Department of Public Safety is on track to becoming a nationally accredited agency, according to an external review of the department by a nationally recognized campus safety expert.
The university sought the review as a proactive step to make sure it was employing best practices in all its encounters at its Orange and Irvine campuses, especially given the greater amount of public activity on college campuses in the current social climate, said Chapman President Daniele Struppa.
“I felt that Chapman University was already on the right and correct path of excellence prior to my review. There were very few minor changes needed to your policies and procedures,” said August Washington, senior associate vice chancellor for public safety and special initiatives at Vanderbilt University. “They look to me like an accredited agency. They’re already following the majority of those practices.”
His main recommendation was that Chapman expand its training schedule to become annual so that the department and its officers and support staff are trained in the most current best practices, tools and techniques.
Washington has a long career in campus safety, including as director of safety and security at Florida Atlantic University, which has seven campuses throughout South Florida. He delivered a summary of his report during a town hall Thursday, Sept. 17. A recording of the town hall, including a Q&A that followed, is available below.
He had high praise for Public Safety’s policies and its officers and staff. Among the Chapman strengths, he noted:
- Strong and collaborative relationships with municipal police departments
- Well-written policies that follow many of the practices of 8 Can’t Wait, a program aimed at reducing police violence
- A culture of caring, exemplified by officers’ participation in campus wide cultural events and willingness to hold each other accountable for responsible behavior
- A high level of training among that far exceeds state minimums for non-sworn officers who do not carry guns or have authority to arrest
Chief of Public Safety Randy Burba said the recommendation to expand training has been incorporated into the department’s program plans. In addition, accreditation by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) is a top department goal since the association recently solidified the procedure for departments staffed by non-sworn officers.
Burba said he was especially encouraged that the review commended the department’s culture of caring and inclusivity.
“My role is to create a safe campus community and we do that by being inclusive with everyone,” Burba said. “I don’t want any student, faculty or staff member to feel like they can’t call public safety.”
A recording of the town hall, including a Q&A that followed, is available below.