University of the Cumberlands (UC) and the Williamsburg Police Department (WPD) have signed an agreement allowing officers to be stationed on UC’s campus to act as school resource officers for the University. The Williamsburg City Council unanimously approved the agreement in a recent meeting.
These officers will be full-fledged members of the police department and will abide by the department’s policies and procedures. They will also receive the same training that all other officers of the department undergo and can be used for official business of the department if necessary.
“We are grateful for law enforcement officers to assist with security here on campus,” said Dr. Larry Cockrum, UC President.
“The safety of our students is our top priority. We have fully equipped and capable security personnel already on campus, ready to help in any situation, and the addition of these WPD officers is only going to improve the safety and security of students here at UC.”
The WPD has always patrolled the city streets that run through Cumberlands’ campus and responded to all emergency or distress calls from the University. Additionally, Cumberlands’ own security force patrols campus and responds to emergencies, even walking students to their residence halls upon request. But this is the first time that posting law enforcement officers directly on campus has been a dedicated station.
“This is something that I’ve dreamed of for a while, putting officers on campus,” said Wayne Bird, Chief of Police for the WPD.
“I think it’s good for both the city and the college. As safety at universities and schools continues to be an issue, I think it’s a huge plus for the college to have law enforcement officers on campus, ready and at-hand to deal with any situation that may arise. Rather than being minutes away, now they’ll be seconds away.”
The school resource officers will alternate first, second and third shifts, meaning that at least one officer will be on campus at all times, even throughout the summer. Bird mentioned during a City Council meeting that shifts may overlap by a few hours, allowing for two officers on campus at times. The officers will spend much of their time on foot, inside the University’s many administrative and educational buildings.
Bird also noted that, by placing officers on Cumberlands’ campus, law enforcement will be closer to Williamsburg Independent School, should any need arise.