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The GW Hatchet

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Firm completes study of campus safety risks

The outside agency tasked with reviewing campus safety and security risks has handed its report to University officials who are analyzing the findings, a top administrator said Wednesday.

GW hired Security Risk Management Consultants, Inc., to “identify the risk level GW is exposed to and develop a physical security and risk management plan,” Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell said in June. While the University will not release the formal report to the public, it will “share information” with the community when the final recommendations have been fully evaluated.

The study, launched to identify the University’s weaknesses to natural and man-made hazards, sought to develop a big-picture analysis of campus safety, the firm’s founder Elliot Boxerbaum said in June.

Boxerbaum referred all questions regarding the report’s results to Darnell. The firm’s portfolio includes other colleges, including Harvard, Howard and Columbia universities.

GW last signed on a security consulting agency in 2008 to determine the feasibility of arming University Police Department officers, but the review found no justification to give the unit guns.

An executive summary on that report’s findings was released to the public.

This year’s study did not solely focus on UPD and arms, Darnell said in June, and served as a broader assessment.

He said then that the University did not specifically ask the firm to reevaluate whether UPD should be armed, but would weigh all the report’s suggestions.

The question of giving UPD officers guns became a heated campus debate following the launch of the 2008 review, after then-UPD Chief Dolores Stafford co-authored a report in support of arming sworn campus police forces.

UPD Chief Kevin Hay, who stepped into his role in June 2010 with 25 years of U.S. Park Police experience, told The Hatchet at the time that he would need to work with the department before considering arming officers.

Some colleges among Security Risk Management Consultants, Inc.’s previous clients arm their police officers, including Howard University.

The 2008 report also recommended that GW group UPD with other security officers, like risk management and emergency preparedness – a suggestion that led to the creation of Darnell’s position.

Darnell was brought on just a few months before Hay in summer 2010 as the senior associate vice president for safety and security, overseeing the Office of Emergency Management, the Office of Health and Safety and UPD.

This story was updated on Dec. 8, 2011 to reflect for the following:
The Office of Emergency Management and the Office of Health and Safety are the new working names for the former Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management and Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

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