By Emily Bruzzo, Staff Writer
Published in print Oct. 1, 2014
At a UNC Greensboro Board of Trustees meeting held in the Alumni House on Sept. 4, a progress report pertaining to the UNC Campus Security Initiatives was presented to those in attendance.
James Herring, chief of the UNCG Police Department, further explained these initiatives in an interview.
Herring became chief 6 years ago, after 28 years of service as a UNCG officer.
Herring’s history with the university extends back to his undergraduate studies, where he worked for 4 years as a student employee of the Police Department while pursuing his Bachelors in Political Science.
He also received a Master of Public Administration from UNCG.
“I worked for the Greensboro PD for a short time after graduation,” Herring said, “But I felt that working here would allow me to make more of a difference in the lives of individuals.”
The security initiatives mandated by the UNC Board of Governors will help Herring do just that.
According to the UNC system’s official website, President Tom Ross launched the UNC Campus Security Initiative in August 2013.
Ross sought to examine the efficacy of certain security procedures implemented by the 17 campuses that form the UNC system.
University personnel, ranging from campus police chiefs to Title IX coordinators, were asked to review safety efforts at their individual institutions.
The 2014 Campus Security Initiative issued its final report to UNC system institutions in July 2014.
This report includes 26 findings and 36 recommendations. UNC universities across the system have begun working to incorporate the report’s suggestions in individual security procedures.
Herring was on the Campus Security Initiative. He had been invited due to the UNCG Police Department having already successfully developed many of the recommendations included in the report.
One of these recommendations calls for each campus creating a security-based cell phone application for student usage.
Herring says development of the application is still in the initial stages. However, the Police Department is working with ITS to evaluate various vendors for the app, including Blackboard.
“I wouldn’t look for anything sooner than fall semester of 2015,” Herring said. “I’m sure that the topic is interesting, but this isn’t something we just jump into without much consideration.”
Another recommendation from the security report— one that the UNCG Police Department has underway— calls for the development of safety guidelines and training materials, as well as various forms of security checklists.
“UNCG already has most of these,” Herring asserted. “One of my officers, Officer Brandi Hopkins, is developing the new Sexual Assault Investigations training. We hope that this will be ready for instruction to all UNC system officers by the summer.”
There are other programs the UNCG Police have helped develop for the UNC system.
“The Consolidated Victim Right form was something created by UNCG Police and is now the model,” Herring said. “I mentioned to my assistant chief, Paul Lester, about a year ago that we have rights forms for both North Carolina Victim’s Rights law and for Title IX and that it would be nice for the officers to have all of that in one form. He is a genius and put it all together on one form.”
Another recommendation calls for the participation of campus personnel in regular meetings with local law enforcement.
UNCG has already implemented this recommendation with organizations such as the Piedmont Investigator’s Group (PIG).
“It is a regular meeting of investigators for all the Piedmont area police departments that allows them to share information on cases,” Herring explained.
Another tool that fulfills this recommendation is rip-and-run.
“Rip-and-run is a tool within the Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system used by Guildford Metro 911,” Herring said. “When GM911 enters a call in their CAD on or near campus, their system sends an email to us immediately to let us know.”
“That way,” Herring continued, “If officers are near, they can take the call if it is on campus or assist on calls near campus if they are available.”
One of the final recommendations the Police Department is handling pertains to the 2007 Campus Safety Task Force, which was created as a response to the Virginian Tech shooting that took place on April 16, 2007.
According to the Task Force’s official report, which was presented to Attorney General Roy Cooper, a 21-member task force was charged in evaluating campus security and developing ways to better respond to crises.
The UNCG Police are continually accredited by the Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), which helps UNCG meet the security standards outlined by the 2007 Campus Safety Task Force.
“We are currently in the process of accreditation,” Herring said. “We hope to receive accreditation by this time next year.”