Department of the Year Award

2017 National Winner and Finalists

The Department of the Year Award recognizes outstanding accomplishment in student and campus safety by a U.S. college or university administrative department.


Kennesaw State University
Department of Public Safety and Police


Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated in 2015, resulting in merging two police departments and a safety department into the new Department of Public safety and Police taking on an expanded role of campus safety. The Department expanded its mission beyond police services to include new implemented initiatives to include the establishment of the Office of Emergency Management, the Office of Public Safety Systems and the Office of Victim Services. The combined agency with new units includes 112 full time employees, of which 62 are sworn personnel.

An intentional effort was aggressively pursued to positively change the relationship with the community with a renewed focus on community oriented policing and integration of the themes from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The Department’s annual evaluation and goal setting meeting which is a Department-wide initiative is established around the themes and pillars of 21st Century Policing.

KSU’s Office of Emergency Management has the typical mission within the four phases (Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, Recovery) of emergency management (emergency notification, emergency operations planning, continuity planning, special event support, etc.), but as an integral part of Department of Public Safety, they also play an active role in campus safety and security. OEM trains and coordinates the Crisis Coordinator Program on campus, which consists of over 200 volunteers who assist with outreach efforts, mitigation programs and emergency response. OEM maintains the AED Program on Campus, which includes an AED on each floor in every building on both campuses. In 2016, OEM offered approximately 150 classes with approximately 1500 attendees.

In the first half of 2017, 58 classes with 676 attendees. KSU OEM also has an aggressive exercise program, including 12 exercises in 2016, and 9 in the first half of 2017. Annually, KSU Police and OEM collaborate with neighboring public safety and law enforcement agencies on emergency response drills on the KSU campuses, most recently to include a residential fire mass casualty drill and active shooter response drill. OEM also facilitates at least two Community Emergency Response Team classes each year

Campus Safety Day was added to the each campuses annual efforts, which included dozens of internal and external agency participants. Flu shots, fire extinguisher training and a wide-variety of equipment displays are presented to the campus community at Campus Safety Day. Another6 important safety feature was added in 2016 — LiveSafe App. Approximately 5,000 community members now have the ability to contact the police for emergencies, to request assistance or simply offer safety tips from their smart phones. Over 640 tips have been submitted since the new application was rolled out on campus.

KSU’s Office of Public Safety Systems manages the University’s camera system, electronic access control, locksmith shop, and crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) assessments. The unit also provides support to the Department of Public Safety’s technology initiatives, which has included deployment of body worn cameras, iPad Minis and app support for Patrol, and installation of laptops for the first time in our patrol vehicles.

In partnership with various campus partners, the unit has led the campus-wide replacement of fire alarm systems, security alarm systems, emergency phone call boxes, and security camera integration and upgrades on our Marietta campus. The unit has also expanded of camera coverage ensure all parking decks have security camera coverage on both campuses. With the added mission of access control, campus standards were implemented and conversion achieved for over 1300 dormitory electronics locks from magnetic stripe card reader locks to two-factor (RFID and keypad) locks- increasing the level of access control-related security for thousands of students residing on the Kennesaw campus.

The Office of Victim Services (OVS) is staffed will three full-time trained victim advocates providing 24/7 on call service to the Kennesaw Campus and Marietta Campus communities. The unit’s members are credentialed through the National Organization of Victim Assistance National Credentialing Program and the State Victim Assistance Academy. The unit works cooperatively with the institution’s Title IX Office, the Women’s Resources and Interpersonal Violence Prevention Center and KSU Police. The unit cooperatively provides roll-call training with Sexual Assault Detectives to the KSU Police Patrol teams.

The most impactful initiative from OVS has been the implementation of our Naloxone Carry program. Since its implementation, KSU Police have now responded to drug overdose calls on the perimeter of campus or nearby, and have achieved five reversals saving lives. All five incidents involved persons non-affiliated with the university. The Director of Victim Services has traveled throughout the state to assist other universities and municipal law enforcement agencies in implementing Naloxone Carry in their jurisdictions.

The Department has hosted numerous training initiatives for its sworn and non-sworn personnel, other institutions and other law enforcement agencies. These trainings have included but are not limited to: annual hosting of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command; Federal Clery Act Compliance Academy; trauma informed investigations; leadership, Ethics and Team Building; Law Enforcement Marketing and Community Oriented Policing; Cultural Diversity for Law enforcement; Fair and Impartial Policing; Below 100; Verbal defense and Influence; National Crime Prevention Council’s Crime Prevention and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED); Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Train the Trainers; and quarterly regional training for Mobile Field Force.

In addition to body worn cameras, iPads, laptops and Naloxone the Department enhanced officer safety and response capabilities with the deployment of field trauma kits, updated uniforms for comfort and function, external vest carriers, patrol rifles, new 800 Mhz P25 Phase 2 compliant radios, secondary armor rifle plate carriers, weapon mounted lights for handguns and rifles, department issued Glock Model 43 9mm back-up weapons, as well as the acquisition of a Farber Specialty Vehicle’s Mobile Command Center.

Community outreach efforts have included implementation of a Law Enforcement Explorer Post which has involved over 150 students in the past two and a half years; three Citizen Police Academy classes with 42 volunteers thus far; a Public Safety Advisory Committee with campus partners and representatives from shared governance representatives. Our Department launched a new internship initiative, which has included 20 interns in the past two and half years, including majors from Engineering, Communication and Marketing, Government, Criminal Justice, and Conflict Management.

Annually our Community Affairs Officers coordinate Campus safety lighting survey with campus partners. We have also worked closely with Student Government as a partner in promoting the LiveSafe campus safety app to the community. The Department led the institutions efforts to establish a Clery Compliance Committee, including participation from several campus partner offices, and implemented required training on reporting criminal activity and Clery Act compliance annually for every university employee, In recognition of the success of these efforts, KSU received 2017 Clery Compliance Program of the Year from the National Association of Clery Compliance Officers and Professionals (NACCOP).


Award Finalists


Old Dominion University – Police Department

Western Michigan University – Department of Public Safety


Award Luncheon


The 2017 Department of the Year Award will be presented to Kennesaw State University and the two finalist universities at the National Campus Safety Summit Award Luncheon on February 20, 2017 (Day 1 of the conference).

All conference attendees are welcome at the (free) gourmet buffet luncheon. Join us in honoring this year’s recipients.

View the full 2017 Top 25 List.