UVM Police Win Award for Excellent Service

UVM’s police services won the 2002 Community Policing Award last month. The award, which was presented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and ITT Industries Night Vision, was given to UVM for its successful community outreach program. Eight finalists were selected from 84 worldwide candidates a ceremony in Minneapolis in September.

The award was considered for police forces that had demonstrated good practices in dealing with the communities in which they work.

The UVM police service has 34 staff members, 22 of which are officers. The reward is the result of improved communication with the UVM community. For those readers who remember, police/student relations were under a lot of strain a few years ago due to poor communication and a lack of preventative involvement.

In January 2001, the police department conducted a survey on campus, addressing issues such as crime prevention and community outreach. They found that the department was lacking in these areas, and as a result, they made some changes in how the police are involved on campus.

According to Margolis, since UVM police have become more involved on campus, the department has seen positive results in regards to student perception of the police. “We saw huge increases in what students thought about the police from previous years, from when it was very dismal.”

The UVM police have become committed to establishing relationships with people on campus that facilitate student/police relations. “[The police] are more proactive than reactive. Instead of waiting for a crime to happen and then responding to the crime, we’re trying to get ahead of the curb and develop relationships and get good information,” says Chief of Police Services Gary Margolis.

Each fall for the past several years, officers have talked with campus residents about safety tips such as not propping dorm doors and reporting crimes. Also, police officers and representatives have become more visible on campus by attending floor and hall meetings and cultivating relationships with resident advisors.

UVM’s police services website has also improved relations in the community. By providing information on campus contacts, taking complaints, and updating information on recent crimes on campus, the web site has become and important tool in maintaining good community relations.

Please contact their website: http://www.uvm.edu/~police/