police enlist watchful employees to thwart crime
every law enforcement officer at U.Va. wears a uniform and dons
a badge. Some patrol their beats in plain clothes. Not because
they're working undercover, but because they're "civilian"
employees trained to keep an eye out for suspicious activity as
part of the University
Police department's "Workers on Watch" program.
800 facilities management, transit service and housing employees
have completed training in this program, which has been in existence
for about six years, according to Sgt. Melissa Fielding, head
of the University's community police unit (CPU).
Make sure all personal items in the office, as well as in
vehicles parked on Grounds, are secured and out of plain
Lock all office and vehicle doors and windows.
attend a three-hour training seminar to learn how to identify
suspicious or criminal activity, such as loitering, flashlight
beams in buildings at night, or anyone removing accessories from
or looking into vehicles, Fielding said. Anyone who witnesses
such acts should notify the police by calling 911, she said.
who has worked as a U.Va. police officer since '93, became head
of CPU when it was established in 1998.
policing is a department-wide philosophy that promotes community
improvement, police-community partnerships, proactive problem-solving
and community empowerment to address the causes of crime, fear
of crime and other community issues," she said.
mission of U.Va.'s CPU is to maintain and improve the quality
of life on Grounds and to keep it a safe place to live, study,
work and visit, she said. The unit, which replaced the department's
crime prevention office, is made up of a group of police officers
who address public safety issues in the University community.
At the Health System, all employees are asked to assist with security
efforts. It's built into their orientation and annual review programs,
explained Lt. Quenton E. "Q" Trice, director of Health
System security. "We want everyone to be attentive, especially
those in Medical Facilities Management, Environmental Services
and Nutritional Services,² he said. Employees in these areas are
out and about at all hours and are more likely to see potential
crimes, said Trice, who has worked at U.Va. since 1982 and been
in his current post since 1997.
always encouraged workers to be our eyes and ears." The practice
was in place long before the Workers on Watch program was given
a name, Trice said.
at U.Va. dropped 30 percent in
1998, Fielding said. "It decreased nationally, too, but I'd
like to think that [our] department's community policing philosophy
contributed to the decrease," she said.
community police unit offers 40 public safety programs, some of
which are listed below. Employees with questions about public
safety, or who would like to schedule a safety class, should call
924-8842. The unit can also be contacted online at: http://www.virginia.edu/~police/
Faculty & Staff Self-defense Classes and the Rape Aggression
Defense Program instruct people on what to do in case of an
attack, and ways to try to prevent them.
Services: Call 964-6400 to use this on-Grounds transportation
service, offered daily from 6 p.m. to 7a.m.
Registration: Free bicycle registration is provided to U.Va.
students, faculty and staff.
Watch Program: People who witness a crime can report it online
anonymously. To access the form, go to the police web site (address
above) and click on "Report It!" in the menu section.