Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash., sits in the middle of the state, just east of the Cascade Range. The student population is 10,000, about 3,500 of which live on campus. The university police department has 11 commissioned officers.
For about two years, the campus has had an Internet-based system through which students and faculty can report behavior or incidents on campus that give them cause for concern. A form is filled out and submitted online to the director of housing and the student affairs staff, and if deemed necessary, a threat assessment team is convened to share information and decide what action to take.
“For universities there is an expectation from the public, and it is becoming a best practice to have threat assessment teams or behavioral intervention teams,” says Director of University Police Michael Luvera.
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“Threat assessment looks at a variety of resources,” he says. “What the police department has may be only a sliver of information. So we try to put all the information together, from housing and other areas of the university, and decide what steps we can take.”
A more sophisticated online system could help in reporting, compiling, prioritizing and analyzing information, Luvera says. Such a system is in the conceptual stage. Existing software or technology that could be adapted has not been identified, and any real development would depend on funding.
As for the technology institute experience, he says, “I loved the technology institute. I thought it was great, a wonderful way to pull people together. I’ve already reached out to some classmates to talk about things.”
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