Congress Authorizes National Center for Campus Public Safety

Written by KOVA Corp

Instances of violence on the campuses of U.S. colleges and universities are on the rise. Many institutions of higher learning have attempted to meet what has become a growing concern by crafting internal policies and procedures. While these policies are an important part of the attempt to stem violence and make colleges safer, the results are often piecemeal with little broad collaboration between institutions.

With more students pursuing post secondary education than ever before, parents are increasingly evaluating campus safety as a major criterion in finding the right college for their children.

Many in campus law enforcement have called for the creation of a national organization to help address violence on school campuses. These concerns were first addressed at the national level in 2005 when the National Summit on Campus Public Safety Report recommended the creation of a National Center for Campus Public Safety.

The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), the leading authority for campus public safety, spearheaded the call to action of the 2005 summit. An association that seeks to advance campus public safety for its more than 1,200 education institution members and 2,000 individual members, IACLEA seeks to make colleges and universities safer places by providing educational resources, advocacy, and professional development services.

IACLEA worked tirelessly after the 2005 summit to bring about a national forum for discussion and collaboration concerning college safety. These efforts were brought to fruition on March 26, 2014, when President Barack Obama signed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 into law. The authorization for the NationalCenter for Campus Public Safety was one of only a handful of new initiatives included in the legislation which keeps the federal government running through the current fiscal year that ends on September 30, 2013.

Having taken note of the increased dangers of college campuses as part of a trend over the last decade that has witnessed high profile instances of violence and murder on school grounds, the action on the part of the federal government is welcomed by law enforcement across the nation.

The National Center for Campus Safety is intended to support sharing of information, policy development, model practices, operations, and research. According to the legislation the Center is intended to:

  • “Increase cooperation, collaboration, and consistency in prevention, response, and problem-solving methods among agencies and jurisdictions serving the nation’s colleges and universities.
  • “Provide a centralized clearinghouse for information on public safety related to the nation's colleges and universities and the communities in which they are located.
  • “Provide educational leadership and opportunities to those responsible for or who have a vested interest in campus public safety.
  • “Provide a forum for discussion, debate, and strategic planning among the various public safety, security, service, and advocacy organizations responsible for the safety of the nation's colleges and universities.”

Law enforcement across the nation can welcome the creation of the National Center for Campus Safety. With the new resources the Center can create, greater communication across the spectrum of stakeholders will be a potent force in making American college campuses safer.

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