March 21, 2018

Furthering Police-Community Relations
Relationships of mutual trust between police agencies and the communities they serve, on and off campus, are critical to maintaining public safety and effective policing. Police officials rely on the cooperation of community members to provide information about crime in their neighborhoods and to work collaboratively to devise solutions. Similarly, community members' willingness to trust the police depends on whether they believe that police actions reflect community values. Research and practice support the idea that people are more likely to obey the law when they believe that those who are enforcing it have authority that is perceived as legitimate by those subject to the authority. The public confers legitimacy only on those whom they believe are acting in procedurally just ways.
In the recent Campus Safety Magazine article " Improving Your Public Safety Department's Image in Your Community," Lt. John M. Weinstein of the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Police Department writes about how the Safe Passage Home (SPH) community outreach initiative has achieved results in improving citizen/police dialogue and understanding. SPH, a joint effort between NOVA and Prince William County Police, is a three-hour program for local high school and college students and their families. It consists of three parts: 1) presentations by college and local police on their training and perspectives, 2) demonstrations with a police narrator of a compliant and confrontational traffic stop, and 3) a question and answer period about elements of the stops. The goal for each phase is the same, to introduce police perspectives that are based on experiences and expectations to community members. The article contains a list of some of the phase 1 discussion topics, more details about this initiative, benefits seen to date, and how the program helped NOVA PD rebrand itself. NOVA and Prince William County Police have completed two SPH presentations to date, with another scheduled in the spring. A portion of one of the 2017 presentations is available to view on YouTube.
Events such as the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman and the 2014 lethal-force deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner sparked movements and protests across the nation. Realizing that students of color, in particular, had been internalizing these deaths, with the ability to replay videos posted widely on social media, several Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) chiefs felt compelled to do something. With recommendations from the Final Report of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing in mind, they enlisted assistance from the National Center for Campus Public Safety (NCCPS). Subsequently, the NCCPS and HBCU Law Enforcement Executives and Administrators hosted a two-day event with student leaders and their police chiefs/campus safety executives representing 20 colleges and universities. On the first day, students and chiefs participated in team building activities designed to help form relationships so discussions on the next day could be open, honest, and productive. On the second day, attendees participated in a forum that addressed the current state, challenges associated with the current state, and the desired future state related to campus police and community interactions.
The resulting report, A National Conversation on Police and Community Interactions on HBCU Campuses (PDF), outlines challenges and potential solutions. The group agreed that the issues needing urgent attention were local/campus police interaction, fear of law enforcement, lack of trained officers, challenging authority, and communication between campus police and students.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Access SAAM resources.
2018 Resources for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) has new materials to support your campuses' 2018 campaign. The NSVRC provides information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence, works with the media to promote informed reporting, and leads the SAAM campaign in April to educate and engage the public in addressing this widespread issue. Teal is the official color of SAAM and the teal ribbon is the symbol of sexual violence prevention. This year SAAM is celebrating its 17th anniversary with the theme "Embrace Your Voice" to inform individuals on how they can use their words to promote safety, respect, and equality to stop sexual violence.
The NSVRC 2018 SAAM action kit (PDF) is a campaign guide that includes an overview of SAAM; information on the Day of Action (Tuesday, April 3, 2018); campaign resources and merchandise; a social media toolkit with sample posts; how to have healthy communications with kids; sexual violence statistics; and considerations on asking for consent, respecting privacy, asking permission, and how to handle the "no." With the exception of merchandising options, campaign materials are free to use, download, and share.
Several other organizations and coalitions are partnering to support this month and many are providing their own resources as well. Some partners include:
  • California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA): CALCASA has produced the Ending Sexual Violence: An Intersectional Approach toolkit, infographic, and several other downloadable materials.
  • NO MORE: Learn about ways individuals and communities can participate and promote safety, respect, and equality.
  • RAINN Day: RAINN Day is an annual day of action to raise awareness and educate students about sexual violence on college campuses. It will be held on Thursday, April 5, 2018 to coincide with SAAM.
  • Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs: The 2018 Washington SAAM campaign includes a toolkit, customizable poster series, and English and Spanish versions of the teen edition of the Be the Solution Game & Discussion Guide. 
For additional information on this national campaign visit the NSVRC's SAAM Blog and access past campaign resources.

National Autism Awareness Month
Learn more about this national effort.
Recognizing the Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder
April is National Autism Awareness Month. Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, speech and nonverbal communication, repetitive behaviors, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences. The number of individuals with ASD continues to rise sharply and is not distinguishable by any physical feature. In 2012, about 1 in 68 children were identified with ASD, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's approximately 120% higher than estimates from 2000-2002. In addition, ASD is five times more common in boys than in girls.
First responders and law enforcement personnel are aware how stressful and chaotic emergency situations can be for everyone. These situations can be intensified for someone with ASD. Understanding how to recognize and interact with individuals with ASD is critical to providing the best care possible for everyone involved.
Autism Speaks is an organization "dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions." They provide helpful information for law enforcement and public safety officials who may interact with individuals with ASD, including recognizing some of the signs of a person with autism. A person with ASD might:  
  • Have an impaired sense of danger
  • Wander to bodies of water, traffic, or other dangers
  • Be overwhelmed by police presence
  • Fear a person in uniform (ex. fire turnout gear) or exhibit curiosity and reach for objects/equipment (ex. shiny badge or handcuffs)
  • React with "fight" or "flight"
  • Not respond to "stop" or other commands
  • Have delayed speech and language skills
  • Not respond to his/her name or verbal commands
  • Avoid eye contact
  • Engage in repetitive behavior (ex. rocking, stimming, hand flapping, spinning)
  • Have sensory perception issues
  • Have epilepsy or seizure disorder
Autism Speaks also includes information on how to effectively interact with a person with autism and some general training guidelines.
The  Autism Society has created fact sheets for  law enforcement and other first responders (PDF) and  paramedics and emergency room staff (PDF) with vital information about common behaviors individuals with ASD may exhibit or how they may respond in certain situations. Some helpful hints for law enforcement include:
  • Speak slowly and use simple language
  • Use concrete terms
  • Repeat simple questions
  • Allow time for responses
  • Do not attempt to physically block self-stimulating behavior
  • Remember that each individual with autism is unique and may act differently than others
In addition, training for law enforcement and other first responders is available from several sources including Autism Safety Education & Training, Autism Risk & Safety Management, and

Professional Development Opportunities

Title: 2018 School Safety Leadership Academy - Session II
Organization: School Safety Advocacy Council
Dates: May 3-4, 2018
Location: Sarasota, FL
Fee: Registration fee
Title: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Innovation and Technology Forum
Organization: National Sport Security Laboratory at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security
Dates: May 15-16, 2018 (deadline to register March 28)
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Fee: Free
Title: 2018 Regional Tabletop Exercise for Institutions of Higher Education
Organizations: Department of Homeland Security and University of Virginia
Date: June 11, 2018 (deadline to register May 21)
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Fee: Free

For additional trainings and events, access our searchable online calendar

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.
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