Establishing a permanent police substation near the Corner and hiring additional police and security officers were among the topics explored Thursday by officials from Albemarle County, the City of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.
The Community Safety Advisory Group endorsed plans to establish a new police substation near the Corner that would operate on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. University officials are working with the Charlottesville Police Department to identify a space and appropriate staffing with the expectation to begin operating the new facility in January.
“We believe the new police substation will greatly improve the ability of law enforcement to protect and serve the area adjacent to the Corner during what is arguably the busiest time of the week,” U.Va. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick D. Hogan said. “This is an important first step in our renewed effort to partner with the city and county as we all work together to enhance the safety for students, faculty, staff and local residents.”
Officials also plan to hire several additional police and security officers. The new positions would be dedicated to patrolling the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to University property as well as an area east of Rugby Road down to 10th Street.
“The expansion of law enforcement personnel will greatly assist our community policing efforts and will position us to maximize public safety resources for the entire region,” University Police chief Michael Gibson said.
Advisory group members discussed visits they made to peer institutions last month to learn about what measures those institutions are taking with respect to community policing in and around their campuses.
The advisory group also agreed to move forward with a public safety and environmental assessment to identify opportunities to expand the use of security cameras and install additional lighting.
During the meeting, the advisory group split up into smaller working groups to discuss other immediate and long-term steps needed to augment safety at the University as well as throughout the city and county. The working groups – focused on enforcement, prevention and awareness, and engagement and education – will present recommendations at the next advisory group meeting, scheduled for Nov. 19.
U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan discussed the new safety measures during her remarks to parents attending Family Weekend activities over the weekend.
“Making U.Va. as safe as possible will require all of us working together as cooperative partners: faculty and staff, students, parents, police and community business leaders,” she said. “Together, we can build a caring community in which our students can thrive.”