Oxford College establishes full-time police department

In an effort to maintain and improve safety and security on its campus, Oxford College has upgraded its campus security force to a full-time police department, according to Joe Moon, associate dean for campus life. Moon said that Bob Walker, director of public safety at Oxford, initially recommended the installation of a full-time police force a few years ago. "This summer we did it," Moon said. "This has been a long time in coming."

To start the transition, Moon said that current staff serving as security officers at Oxford were given the chance to attend the Police Academy. In addition, Walker has established a dual reporting system with both Oxford College and Craig Watson, director of the Emory Police Department. The officers working at Oxford College are now police officers, trained and certified according to state law, and meeting the same standards as police officers working on the Emory campus.

Members of the Oxford College division of the Emory Police Department are on campus 24 hours a day. The officers are trained to handle emergencies and serve as a contact with local law enforcement agencies and medical personnel. The Oxford division consists of five certified police officers.

The Oxford Police Department files incident reports and accident reports on such events occurring on campus, and case numbers are obtained through the Emory Police Department. Any crime required to be reported according to the Campus Security Act or incidents that involve criminal investigation are promptly reported to the appropriate local law enforcement agency. The local law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction at Oxford College are the City of Oxford Police Department and the Newton County Sheriff's Department. All campus police officers at Oxford College are sworn as deputy sheriffs in Newton County.

The Oxford Police Department is supervised by the director of public safety at Oxford College. The public safety director and the four police officers under his direction are all certified by the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council as having completed the basic training requirements for a peace officer. On the campuses of both Oxford and Emory, the peace officers are authorized by the governing body to have the same law enforcement powers, including the powers of arrest, as a law enforcement officer of the local government with police jurisdiction over such campus. The director of public safety resides on college property.

"We're delighted with the people we've attracted with the change," Moon said. He added that people have moved around within the Oxford staff, allowing new blood to enter the Oxford Police Department. Moon believes the change will allow for a "higher level of professionalism. A police officer has a level of expertise and training that a security officer does not have. We'll be able to serve the campus better and make it a more safe and secure place," he said.

--Danielle Service

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