Police Services/Public Safety Department selected as national award finalist

Congratulations to Director of Police Services/Public Safety L. Angela Webb and her department on their selection as one of three American Association of Colleges (AACC) 2019 Awards of Excellence finalists in the category of Community College Safety and Planning.  The winners will be announced at the AACC annual convention April 13-16 in Orlando, Florida.

Director L. Angela Webb

Director L. Angela Webb

President Tracy D. Hall was elated at the news.  “Director Webb and her team are truly deserving of this distinction,” Dr. Hall said. “We are committed to continuous improvement and innovation at Southwest and our Public Safety officers embraced this commitment by engaging in state-of-the-industry training, amassing law enforcement and emergency management credentials that are on par with any area college and beyond, and launching a public safety awareness campaign that has shaped our campus safety culture into one that follows the guiding principle that safety is everyone’s job. I am so proud of her and the entire department.”

Webb, who joined Southwest in 2015, oversees a staff charged with providing a safe environment for more than 10,000 faculty, staff and students at two main campuses and three centers. She is excited, thrilled, and ecstatic to be a finalist. “We have made tremendous strides to improve safety awareness through training and practical exercises,” she said.  “Safety is a top priority at Southwest and we work hard every day to serve and protect to ensure Southwest Is Your Best Choice!”

Webb and her team transformed Southwest’s safety culture through a myriad of initiatives:

  • The Southwest Emergency Response Team (SERT) was formed and trained according to the United States Office of Emergency Preparedness model with members attending the Las Vegas Active Shooter training, earning CPR certifications and adhering to a regular recertification schedule.
  • College-wide safety drills ranging from active shooter to severe weather response are conducted regularly.
  • Police officers received CPR and MediCop training and certifications to empower officers to render lifesaving first aid during medical emergencies.
  • Active shooter training and drills are now a part of operating procedure as the department has partnered with Memphis Police Department (including the T.A.C.T. Squad) and students for drills; officers have undergone Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Active Shooter Certification Training (A.L.E.R.R.T.); the college community has engaged in Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events Training (C.R.A.S.E.) and active shooter seminars and tabletop exercises; and, training videos of these activities have been produced and made available to everyone online.
  • Police officers have been certified as instructors in Krav Maga, Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings, ASP Baton, and even Child Passenger Safety to teach those parents who are members of the faculty, staff and student body how to properly place children in car child seats.
  • A Crisis Intervention Team (C.I.T.), along with Patrol Rifle Officer programs and a terrorism liaison officer, has been added to the force.
  • Two officers have been certified to train women on campus in the art of Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) and have held seminars on multiple campuses.
  • The Department works closely with Southwest Early College High School to conduct regular safety drills and sexual assault awareness seminars.
  • Gang awareness and sexual assault awareness seminars have been made available to Southwest faculty, staff, and students.
  • The Department was awarded a $5,000 Driving Under the Influence Educational grant through the Tennessee Highway Safety Office to offer interactive, intensive, hands-on drug and alcohol awareness seminars.
  • Strong community partnerships have been formed with the Memphis Medical District Collaborative to enhance security at the Union Avenue campus that is adjacent to a major medical district; the Memphis Police Department to provide support during public demonstrations with potential for civil unrest; and, University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Police Department to provide security assistance with such outdoor events as fundraising walks and runs near Union Avenue campus.

The AACC is the primary advocacy organization for the nations’ community colleges representing nearly 1,200 2-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students. Since 2013, the AACC has recognized individuals who have excelled in their fields and given back to their community through a variety of awards. 

The Awards of Excellence shine a national spotlight on individuals who offer promising practices to AACC member colleges. The Community College Safety Planning and Leadership Award recognizes exemplary practices and innovation in campus safety and emergency response strategies, programs, and procedures.

The AACC nominees are judged by a select committee of the AACC Board of Directors. The other finalists competing with Southwest in the category of Community College Safety and Planning are the College of DuPage in Illinois and Rockland Community College in New York.