From the Chief's Desk
On behalf of the Virginia Tech Police Department, I would like to welcome everyone to Virginia Tech, and our home on the web! Whether you are a student or a faculty or staff member, we want to make your college experience, and/or workplace, a safe and enjoyable one.
First, let me tell you a little about our police department, our authority, jurisdiction and our services. The Virginia Tech Police Department is a full-service, nationally accredited police agency which is always open to answer your questions, or to assist you in any way possible. We are located behind the football stadium in the Sterrett Facilities Complex.
We have 52 full-time sworn police officers who are complemented by security guards, campus watch officers and safe ride officers. VT police officers have jurisdiction and legal authority on all university-owned property. Since students live both on and off campus, we work very closely and share jurisdiction with the Blacksburg Police Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies.
Those of you living on campus in residence halls will see officers on a regular basis. Police officers are assigned specific residence halls and are required to visit with students and resident advisors regularly.
Officers are also required to visit academic buildings. We maintain a high visibility on campus not to catch you doing something wrong, but to give you a sense of security and safety. Of course, if you are breaking the law in the police officer's presence, he or she will take the appropriate enforcement action.
Be aware of the laws and policies of the university so you will know what type of behavior is illegal and unacceptable. Laws and university policies are linked at the top, right-hand side on all of our webpages, but you can also get them here. The Code of Virginia is the law of the Commonwealth, and the Office of Student Conduct website houses the university's policies.
Officer Jaret Reece can be seen walking around campus with his partner, Boris. Boris is a German shepherd trained in tracking and narcotics detection, and he has been serving Virginia Tech since 2008. Upon request, Boris will perform canine presentations at residential hall programs. Officer Larry Wooddell works with Boomer, an explosive detection Labrador retriever, and also does presentations upon request.
If you have any suggestions or ideas for classes, programs such as our Student's Police Academy, self-defense, personal safety, drug and alcohol-awareness, etc., contact Officer Marshall Hamilton of the Community Outreach Unit by email or at 540-231-8123.
Being aware of your surroundings and using good judgment lessens the likelihood of you becoming a target for crime. Theft is the biggest crime problem reported on campus.
Locking your doors, marking and securing your valuables will reduce the chances you will be the victim of theft. Contact the police department to borrow an engraver to mark your personal property.
Violence, especially against women, is a top concern and one the police department takes very seriously. We encourage anyone who has become a victim of violence to report it to the police. It is very important to let us know regardless of whether or not you decide to press charges. There are resources available both off and on campus for victims of sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking.
The Tech Women's Center has victim advocates that can provide support, counseling, and information about options, advocacy and academic relief.
These services are available whether or not a survivor decides to report this to the police. If a survivor decides to report this to the police, an advocate is available to go with the survivor to make a police report and to any legal or judicial proceedings. Sexual assaults are the most underreported criminal offenses not only at VT, but also on all college campuses. If you are a victim of a sexual assault, we encourage you to seek help whether it is though the police department, or the women's center. We cannot help you if we don't know about it.
We sponsor a nighttime safety escort service known as Safe Ride. Safe Ride operates from dusk until dawn and provides transportation or a walking escort to all persons. For an escort, call 540-231-SAFE (7233).
New emergency telephones have recently been added to strategic campus locations for optimum efficiency. These phones connect you with the police department directly.
Because of the thousands of students, faculty, and staff who are on the campus each day, many of them driving, it is very important to pay attention to traffic especially when crossing the street. Please walk to a crosswalk before crossing. Several new crosswalks have been added for your safety and convenience. Virginia law mandates that vehicles stop only for pedestrians who are in crosswalks.
While officers enforce crosswalk violations, do not assume that vehicles will stop. We have had instances where pedestrians have been struck crossing the street whether or not they were in the crosswalks. It's important to practice what you learned as a child: look both ways before crossing the street.
Call the police department to inquire about our services, ask questions, or voice concerns. For emergencies dial 911, all other calls dial 540-231-6411. Do not hesitate to contact me directly if I can be of assistance.
Chief Wendell Flinchum