Update: Library Community Policing Pilot

Update: Library Community Policing Pilot
Frank Haulgren
Facilities and Assessment Coordinator

Since Fall Quarter 2018, Western Libraries and University Police have been conducting a community policing pilot project.  This project was undertaken as an effort to address concerns raised by student library staff that work late into the evening, as well as a broader and growing concern about personal safety on and around Western’s Bellingham campus.  Since the project was initiated Officers Bianca Smith and Todd Osborne, officers who have volunteered to participate in the project, have increased their visibility in the library complex by approximately three hours per day – depending on their assigned work shifts.  

As the academic year nears its end, we want to share with you a brief description of how this project is being assessed. 

  • Fall Quarter 2018:  At the end of Fall Quarter Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg solicited comments from our student building managers as well other library student employees.  Response to the community policing pilot from this group was positive but limited.  The Libraries and University Police both felt that given the limited number of hours that officers were on-site, the program needed to be extended into Spring Quarter in order to conduct a more conclusive assessment. 
  • Winter Quarter 2019:  Western Libraries received email comments from a number students expressing concern about the intent and effectiveness of this pilot project as well as the concept of community policing in general.  All input received will be weighed as part of the project’s overall evaluation. 
  • Spring Quarter 2019:  Between April 22 and May 5 the Libraries offered an online questionnaire to gather data and comments regarding community policing in the library buildings.  Later in the quarter a focus group consisting of building users and the project officers will be convened by the Libraries as part of its continuing assessment of the project.  If you are interested in being considered as a participant in the focus group discussion, please email your name and WWU email address to Frank.Haulgren@wwu.edu(Event date TBD.) 

Once we have collected and reviewed all of your feedback, we will share another update regarding the results of the assessment and what will happen next. From the start of this project, the Libraries’ goal has been to create a safe, inviting, and non-threatening environment for library users. To that end we appreciate both the support and concerns expressed with regards to this pilot project, all of which are integral to determining how we move forward. 

Published on: 05/07/2019 - 10:06am

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