Police officer talking to students on Brock Commons

Continuing a trend that began more than a decade ago, the Longwood University Police Department is one of the top law enforcement operations in the country—and the top-ranked department among Virginia colleges and universities.

Over the last 11 years, Longwood has consistently outperformed Virginia’s other colleges and universities in the higher education category of Security Magazine’s annual rankings. This year’s top-20 ranking is Longwood’s eighth in the last 10 years.

The Longwood University Police Department is a real point of pride for the university, and we hear from parents and students each day that they have a lot of confidence in the safety of our campus.

Dr. Tim Pierson, vice president for student affairs Tweet This

“The Longwood University Police Department is a real point of pride for the university, and we hear from parents and students each day that they have a lot of confidence in the safety of our campus,” said Dr. Tim Pierson, vice president for student affairs, who oversees the department. “In the last 10 years, we have nearly doubled the security budget on campus, including growing our law enforcement staff to more than double the national average for a population our size. That kind of commitment from the top down is reflected in their continued ranking, and is a real testament to the values and forward-thinking practices put in place over that time.”

The LUPD has been led since 2007 by Col. Bob Beach, whose 50 years in public service—most at one of the state’s busiest police departments in Fairfax County—anchor the department with deep experience. That experience is compounded by the adoption of technology as a force-multiplier.

Now we have more than 300 security cameras on campus and at university-managed housing complexes, more than 60 emergency blue-light phones at strategic locations, and a sophisticated emergency notification system that undergoes regular and rigorous testing.

Col. Bob Beach Tweet This

“When I arrived on campus, we had no security cameras, no blue-light phones and no emergency siren,” said Beach, who has announced he will retire in July to spend time with family. “Now we have more than 300 security cameras on campus and at university-managed housing complexes, more than 60 emergency blue-light phones at strategic locations, and a sophisticated emergency notification system that undergoes regular and rigorous testing. We’ve come a long way, and we are always looking for ways to improve. That’s something the rankings take into consideration—how much you are investing in new technology, and I’m proud to say it’s one of our strengths.”

On campus, the police department has adopted community-policing practices, focused on building connections with the community and utilizing proactive, student-focused crime-prevention strategies. That involves offering free security-focused training and other programs for students and making police officers available to students in nonenforcement capacities.

“We work best when we are seen as members of the community,” said Beach. “We try to find ways to engage with students in a friendly way to help build a relationship based on trust, whether that’s holding egg hunts in the spring, meeting with students during monthly Coffee with the Chief, meeting with any group that invites us or just talking with students on Brock Commons. We’re always striving to get better at our jobs to make the community safer.”

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