Investment in Safety and Student Support
Campus safety and security manifests in a variety of ways. That’s why the UK Police Department has established new—and continues building on existing—initiatives to build trust among the community, such as:
- Last fall, UK Police teamed up with the Student Government Association to participate in the annual Campus Safety Walk, an opportunity to evaluate areas on campus that students traverse. It is an opportunity for the group to think creatively about how to further increase security throughout our campus environment. The Campus Safety Walk also represents an opportunity for students to engage with UK Police and get to know those entrusted with overseeing campus safety.
- UK Police is committed to strengthening the department’s relationships with all members of the UK family. That’s why in 2017, UK Police Chief Joe Monroe created a liaison position dedicated to fostering relationships within the LGBTQ* community. Officer Andy Eilertson and Officer Holly Williams are the first LGBTQ* Liaisons at UK’s Police Department and are openly gay. Officer Eilertson was a former UK student athlete and began her law enforcement career in 2004. Officer Williams is one of the few female motor officers in law enforcement and actively raises money for Special Olympics. Together, they work closely with the Office of Institutional Diversity’s LGBTQ* Resources Director Lance Poston to help build mutual trust, respect and understanding between LGBTQ* members and UK Police. Historically in places across the country, members of the LGBTQ* community have had negative experiences with law enforcement. As a result, although a significant percentage of the LGBTQ* population have experienced harassment and discrimination, there often is reluctance to turn to police. Having two police officers who identify with diverse sexual orientations is one important effort to change that mindset.
- The UK Police Department also continues to offer an opportunity for citizens to gain insight into the daily functions and responsibilities of our law enforcement personnel, through the Citizens Police Academy. The academy’s mission is to utilize this educational opportunity to foster a more cohesive relationship between law enforcement officers and the campus community. Graduates are able to share knowledge gained with others in the community, thereby helping others become more familiar with police practices.
- Earlier this year, UK Police Chief Joe Monroe shared a number of campus security updates with our Board of Trustees.
These are just a few examples of UK Police partnering with the community, underscoring the important notion that campus safety is everyone’s responsibility.
UK's recently completed three-year, $4.8 million project, spearheaded by the UK Police Department, provides UK with a centralized safety response system. It includes:
- Video management system (VMS) to monitor areas of campus: A geo-diverse VMS allows real-time monitoring through internet connected cameras. The VMS uses analytics for identifying situations on campus and reviewing evidence. The system also allows secure monitoring remotely through mobile devices or off-campus locations.
- Centralized access control system to secure facilities remotely: The new system will allow UK Police to lock individual or all buildings from a remote, central location in the event of a threat on campus. Existing buildings will be modified to work with the system, and construction of new buildings will automatically incorporate the security system.
- Identification badge operations on campus: The UK Police Department has standardized campus ID badge operations, creating a single ID for students, faculty and staff that will better control building access.
- Early warning speakers and internal overhead notifications to broadcast threats to campus safety: In response to a crisis, the police department is able to provide immediate notifications to alert all persons on campus through a combination of warning speakers, overhead paging, voice calls, emails and text messages.
The UK Community of Concern team seeks to proactively enhance the well-being and safety of the University's students and employees. This effort currently takes several forms, including the following:
- Increased integration between teams charged with reviewing cases involving students and/or employees of concern.
- Greater integration of the University community with efforts to report and address issues of concern.
- Introduction of a new online reporting system to help analyze, anticipate and address situations of concern.
- Enhanced efforts to connect students, faculty and staff with counseling and support resources when needed.
The University of Kentucky Counseling Center, part of the UK Office of Student and Academic Life, provides confidential psychological counseling to currently enrolled UK students and consultation services to currently enrolled UK students, UK faculty and staff and caregivers. The Counseling Center seeks to provide a space for students to explore freely any personal problems or concerns they may not wish to share with family or friends. The Counseling Center offers short term counseling and therapy to support students' growth and assist students with mental health, academic and/or other personal concerns that might interfere with academic performance or a sense of personal well-being while at UK. Services include individual, couple and group counseling; major and career counseling; and outreach programming.