Wednesday November 7, 2007
Mayor Jerry Abramson and Chief Robert White today introduced "Campus Watch" as the latest addition to the Keep Louisville Safe campaign. Standing among a group of students at Highland Middle School, Abramson and White were joined by JCPS Superintendent Sheldon Berman, UPS Air Group Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Vice President Michael Francesconi and representatives of 13 universities, who represent partners in the program.
Campus Watch is a safety initiative focusing on the protection and security of students and school personnel. The program is uniquely tailored to fit the needs of each academic institution, which vary in size, number of students and physical layout. Campus Watch is also intended as a proactive strategy against incidents of school violence that have recently made headlines in other communities.
"We are all working toward the same goal, which is to keep our students safe," Abramson said. "It makes sense to share our resources and utilize the expertise of our officers to prevent crime in this community."
Each school will receive posters, which may be personalized for each campus, that feature information about 574-LMPD, the city's anonymous crime tip hotline. Quick Tip cards in Spanish and English will be distributed in the schools. Students and faculty will also have access to the Citizen Observer website, where they can learn about recent criminal activity, crime trends and crime prevention. Security surveys and safety seminars will also be provided and Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) personnel will be available to serve as guest instructors. Campus Watch will utilize text messaging, one of the most popular methods of communication among today's students. For those who prefer not to call the crime tip hotline, a text message may be sent to 574-LMPD safely and anonymously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
"Campus Watch is another one of the many efforts we're making in reaching out and partnering with the citizens of our community," said Chief White. "Regardless of whether they're at home, work or school, we want to provide our residents with the tools and education to keep them safe from crime."
Campus Watch is an outgrowth of 574-LMPD and the School Resource Officer program, which is a collaborative effort by law enforcement, school administrators and students to provide law related education programs in the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). LMPD currently has 12 officers serving as school resource officers in JCPS middle and high schools.
"JCPS has a lot of tools that help build school climates where students feel comfortable in talking with adults about their safety concerns and our school resource officers are the perfect example of that," said Superintendent Berman. "Campus Watch is another tool in that effort. It supplements much of what we're already doing by providing additional expertise, human resources and technology to keep our schools safe."
Promotional funding for Campus Watch is being provided by the UPS Foundation. The group donated $5,000 to be used toward posters, stickers and decals. Other promotional items such as pens and key chains featuring the 574-LMPD logo will also be provided.
Keep Louisville Safe is an ongoing safety initiative by LMPD to partner with businesses and residents on the issue of crime prevention. Topics have included auto theft prevention, elder abuse, manufacturing of methamphetamine, domestic violence, traffic and driver safety and the online crime mapping tool MetroWatch. Other topics to be addressed in the future include identity theft, 911 safety, underage drinking and shopping security.