The West Virginia University Police Department will offer two online training courses to students through eCampus this fall to help build a campus-wide safety-first mindset.

The class called Flashpoints focuses on signs of potential violence on campus; Shots Fired focuses on actual violence scenarios. Instructions for both courses are available on the University Police Department’s website at http://police.wvu.edu by clicking on Register for Student Violence Response Training.

“Both are excellent programs, and while we hope you never need to use the skills taught, it is better to be prepared and never use them,” said University Police Chief Bob Roberts.

New students and parents are also encouraged to sign up for WVU Alerts, the University’s emergency notification system. This system is used to notify the campus community of emergency situations and campus closures. It is free, and you can sign up at http://emergency.wvu.edu/alert.

“Keep your college life on track by doing the right things and not seeking acceptance by those who would lead you in the wrong direction,” Roberts said. “Our best advice is to ask yourself this question: ‘Would I want my mother or other special person in my life to read about my actions in the newspaper?’ If you answer no, don’t take the chance.”

Here are some tips Roberts gives to help navigate the fall semester safely:

  • Use caution and the buddy system when attending parties. Do not take drinks from strangers. “Statistics indicate that a major contributing factor in other crimes such as battery, sexual assault and malicious wounding show a direct relation to alcohol or drugs,” Roberts said.
  • Know and understand that no means no. There can be severe consequences for not understanding the word no. It is a violation of the West Virginia state code to have sex or sexual contact with a person who is unable to consent due to intoxication or other issues that impair judgment. “Most sexual assaults that occur within our campus community are date/acquaintance assaults. The cases typically involve the consumption of alcohol,” Roberts said. “History shows that sometimes alcohol and drugs are used to confuse victims. Clear communication by the individuals involved is vital.”
  • Alcohol consumption is directly related to many batteries and personal injuries on and around campus. If you become the victim of such incidents notify the University or Morgantown police immediately. “Do not take matters into your own hands and retaliate. Nothing good can come from escalating an argument and doing so can lead to life-changing events,” Roberts said.
  • Lock your doors at all times. Most thefts on campus are crimes of opportunity. A door left unlocked, a room left unattended can lead to stolen items. It takes just seconds to enter or walk by and take valuables. The University Police Department offers the free program Operation ID, in which police come to your dorm room and assist you in completing paperwork on valuable items in your room.
  • Don’t post information about yourself online that you don’t want everyone to know. “The Internet is the world’s biggest information exchange. Many more people could see your information than you intend, including your parents, your teachers, your employer, the police – and strangers, some of whom could be dangerous,” Roberts said. By providing information about yourself and forms of online and social media, you can communicate, either within a limited community, or with the world at large. While the sites can increase your circle of friends, they also can increase your exposure to people who have less-than-friendly intentions.

The University Police Department believes in community-oriented policing. In order to achieve success, it needs the support and involvement of everyone in the campus community. Any questions can be directed to http://police.wvu.edu/ or 304.293.3136.

The University Police Department has its own dispatch center and 56 certified police officers working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its mission is to work with the campus community to keep and improve safety for all community members.

-WVU-

td/08/14/12

CONTACT: Bob Roberts; University Police
304.293.2677; Bob.Roberts@mail.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.