VCU Police Department ready to take on the fall

Marcus Blackwell

As stated on their website, the VCU Police Department’s overall mission is “to provide a safe and secure learning, living and working environment for the students, faculty and visitors of Virginia Commonwealth University.” Now, almost a month into this year’s fall semester, the VCUPD has worked diligently to uphold this creed by increasing their involvement on campus.

The presence of security all throughout VCU has risen, which has brought great comfort to the students of VCU.

Christian Brown, a sophomore at VCU, said he has noticed the change.

“I end up being out late pretty often out here,” Brown said. “When I’m walking back to the dorm late, I feel a lot more comfortable and safe seeing an officer on the streets. They’re everywhere.”

VCU Police Chief John Venuti spoke on the growth of the police presence this semester.

“We created a custom deployment plan based upon the results of a survey we gave to students and community members last semester,” Venuti said. “We react directly from the community feedback. Last semester the results said that students feel least safe after dark in specific areas. So we’re there.”

In an effort to make them more prompt and informative, the police department is also taking a stronger approach towards the VCU alert system. This improvement was made clear very quickly after students returned to campus in August. On Aug. 17, the day before classes started; an alert went out at 3:15 AM informing students of a shooting on campus and provided the exact location of the occurrence.

Venuti said he is happy with the way the alert system has developed and the timeliness of the text alerts.

“Many schools have a time-consuming system in regards to getting out their alerts, we have delegated the authority to our first line supervision to issue the alert. We get it to you as quickly as possible,” Venuti said.

The UCI Road World Championships are fast approaching and expected to bring an estimated 450,000 spectators to the VCU area. VCU Police have been planning for 16 months and are geared to work collaboratively with Richmond Police to ensure that things go smoothly and safely for students and incoming visitors.

“We will set up a contact center for students and the community to direct any questions about the races and the area,” Venuti said.

The races will take place from September 19th through the 27th.

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