It’s a distinction no other college or university in Virginia can claim: for eight of the last 10 years, Longwood’s police department has held a top-20 national ranking in the annual list published by Security Magazine.
But if you ask the Longwood University Police Department (LUPD), there’s always more to do.
National accolades are nice to have but what we truly measure ourselves on is whether we’ve kept the Longwood community as safe as possible every day.LUPD Chief Bob Beach Tweet This
“National accolades are nice to have but what we truly measure ourselves on is whether we’ve kept the Longwood community as safe as possible every day,” said LUPD Chief Bob Beach, a 50-year veteran law enforcement officer who has led the department for the last 13 years. “We pride ourselves on not being complacent—always looking for a piece of technology or law enforcement strategy that can help us be as effective as possible.”
In the past two years, more than 100 new security cameras and emergency blue-light phone stations have been added to campus and university-managed housing complexes, bringing the total to more than 500 across Longwood properties.
The LiveSafe app is really a seamless way for police and students to communicate, and I think goes a long way toward building relationships across campus.Tracie Giles, emergency management coordinator Tweet This
In addition to the hardware, Longwood Police Department officers are meeting students where they increasingly live—on their smartphones. The integration of the LiveSafe app several years ago allows students to text directly with dispatchers, silently call 911 if needed, and view a safety map of campus with locations of blue-light phones and LUPD resources. The app, which is free to all Longwood students and parents, can also allow students to share their real-time location with parents and friends for virtual walks home.
“We’ve gotten great feedback on the LiveSafe app from not only students but also parents,” said Tracie Giles, emergency management coordinator. “They really love how functional it is—students will often snap photos of something that seems wrong and shoot it directly to dispatchers. It’s really a seamless way for police and students to communicate, and I think goes a long way toward building relationships across campus.”
In recent years, relationship-building has become a key priority for the LUPD. Most days, officers try to dedicate time outside Dorrill Dining Hall talking to students and getting to know them on a personal level. On holidays, they may even be seen passing out Halloween candy or hosting an impromptu egg hunt on Brock Commons.
The Longwood University Police Department has been a great partner to us. We routinely work very closely together on investigations and priorities, while maintaining good relationships and open lines of communication.Farmville Police Chief Andy Ellington Tweet This
“These types of community policing practices are about one thing: building trust,” said Doug Mooney, the former Farmville Police Chief who will replace retiring Chief Beach at the helm of the LUPD in July. “That relationship is critical to the effectiveness of the police department. I’m really excited about building on the work that has been done on campus, especially over the last decade.”
Beach lauded the efforts of all of the members of the department in handling the response to the Covid-19 crisis, which has included working closely with other members of local law enforcement.
“The Longwood University Police Department has been a great partner to us,” said Farmville Police Chief Andy Ellington. “We routinely work very closely together on investigations and priorities, while maintaining good relationships and open lines of communication. That kind of relationship is hard to build and maintain, but I think this community understands the immense benefits of having our security operations work in lock-step.”