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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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New UPD chief aims to increase campus, community visibility

By Priya Anand and Amy D’Onofrio

The new University Police Department chief Kevin Hay said he hopes to increase both his own and UPD’s visibility on campus and the surrounding community when he assumes the position next month.

Hay, 51, said he will attend Advisory Neighborhood Commission meetings in not only Foggy Bottom, but also in the area surrounding the Mount Vernon campus, adding that he will also try to connect with students on campus in order to better UPD’s ability to protect the GW community.

“Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not a wallflower,” Hay said in a phone interview with The Hatchet Monday. “If people ask me a question, I’m going to give them the best answer I can at the time with the information I have. People are going to be able to ask me questions directly, and I’ll tell them what I think.”

He said community policing is about being proactive.

“We’ll be looking for everyone to share what they know with us, and we can resource our officers accordingly. That’s what it’s all about—good communications, showing up at the meetings, hearing what people have to say, putting that together with other information you might have and then formulating a plan.”

Hay said he will look for ways to improve campus safety measures like 4-ride – the service that provides free rides to students at night, but has faced complaints of slow response times.

He said he already has plans for how to utilize the nearly 150 officers that will be under his management beginning Sept. 7.

Plainclothes officers, a fixture in police departments across the nation, will continue to offer an extra layer of security on campus, Hay said.

“If [criminals] do decide to engage in criminal activity, the plainclothes officers can immediately take action and make an apprehension that is sometimes easier than a uniformed officer could,” Hay said.

Criminals also have their own networks, and arrests by plainclothes officers can serve as a deterrent to other criminals who have an eye on campus, Hay said.

Hay said multiple meetings per week among UPD staff will also take place to implement high-visibility patrols in the areas where they are deemed the most necessary.

“Criminal activity is not just a problem for the police department; it’s a problem for all of us in the community,” Hay said.

Hay said the dynamics of working at locations such as the Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument – where he has worked with Park Police since beginning his service in 1984 – are very similar to those at a “high-profile place” like GW. He said he plans to spend his first few months on the job learning the strengths and weaknesses of the UPD, as well as getting to know the officers, prior to making any major changes.

He has already worked with Darrell Darnell – the new senior associate vice president for safety and security – during the inauguration of President Barack Obama while Darnell was working for the D.C. government. Hay said during the preparation for the event he also built relationships with other law enforcement officials, like Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

On arming UPD, a project former Chief Dolores Stafford supported in a report back in 2008, Hay said he has to work with the UPD force before determining whether or not he will raise the issue again in the future.

“I’m going to be looking at the department’s strengths and weaknesses and figuring out what types of improvements that we can make, what makes sense,” Hay said.

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