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Crime Prevention and Community Programs: Western Kentucky University Crime Prevention Programs

By Robert L. Deane, Chief of Police, Western Kentucky University Police Department, Bowling Green, Kentucky

University Police Academy

The Western Kentucky University (WKU) Police Department has developed a citizen police academy that is designed to emulate the various citizen academies conducted by many municipal police departments throughout Kentucky. But WKU’s University Police Academy is specifically designed for the students, faculty, and staff of the university.

The intent of the academy is to teach members of the university community how to prevent crime, foster students’ interest in a law enforcement career, and improve relations between students, faculty, staff members, and police officers. The academy consists of an intense eight-week course of study led by WKU police academy instructors. The courses include subjects such as crime prevention, criminal investigations, patrol procedures, and training. The academy also includes practical exercises in traffic stops, crime scene investigation, firearms, and DUI detection, and it also offers the opportunity to take part in the WKU police ride-along program. Upon completion of the eight-week course, participants attend a graduation banquet and awards dinner in their honor.

The academy participants also evaluate the program and make recommendations for future academy classes. As a result of participation in the WKU University Police Academy, each student, faculty member, and staff member will be able to make informed judgments about the WKU police and its daily operations and departmental procedures. In turn, the police will become more aware of the feelings and concerns of the university community.

WKU Police Explorer Post

The Western Kentucky University Police Department received a grant from the Parents Advisory Council to develop and implement a student escort service. The WKU Police Department, in an effort to implement the escort service, chartered a Law Enforcement Exploring Post. Because many students graduating from the university police academy are showing interest in continuing to learn about law enforcement and safety on campus, the WKU police explorers have become a natural continuation of the learning process for those academy graduates interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement.

WKU’s police explorer requirements include the following:

  • Members must be between the ages of 17 and 20 and be enrolled as a student of Western Kentucky University.

  • Members must have parental approval as advised by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

  • Members must be in good physical condition and capable of passing Peace Officer Professional Standards (POPS).

  • Members must pass a complete background investigation.

  • Members are to maintain scholastic standards that require a minimum 2.0 GPA or C average and have no disciplinary actions.

  • Members must maintain a minimum of 15 hours of volunteer hours per month to include a weekly organizational and training meeting.

  • Members will be responsible for annual dues and uniform maintenance.

  • If accepted into the Western Kentucky University Police Explorer Program, members will be held to the highest standards to include following the post’s policy and procedures, Western Kentucky University policies, and the Boy Scouts of America rules, as well as obeying all local, state, and federal laws.

The primary function of the WKU explorers is to operate, maintain, and staff the escort service. Escorts are provided to all WKU students, faculty members, and staff members during the hours of darkness from point to point on campus. The explorers are provided a workspace at police headquarters to receive calls for service and the explorers are notified by dispatch when an individual requests an escort. The explorers are identified by an identification card that is issued by the police department and the distinctive explorer uniform. In an effort to reduce response time for the escort, the explorers have implemented an explorer bike patrol in addition to the walking patrol.

Police exploring educates students in police operations and provides the foundation to build a career in law enforcement. Through formal training and practical exercises the post’s goal is to prepare young men and women to enter a career in law enforcement and make them aware of the complex nature and personal responsibility associated with the profession.

For more information about the WKU University Police Academy and the WKU Explorer Post, call 270-745-2548 or write to Chief Robert Deane at (


From The Police Chief, vol. 72, no. 9, September 2005. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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