SF College police get inaugural 'Innovations' award

Published: Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 6:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 6:38 p.m.

Santa Fe College was the first institution to have a police department in the Florida College System, but now it can boast it is the best one, too.

Police Chief Ed Book said there were plenty of nominees gathered at an annual conference in Louisville, Ky., but the Santa Fe College Police Department managed to snag the “Innovations in Community Oriented Policing” award, an international honor.

The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, which is the world's largest organization of its type, awarded SFCPD this inaugural award for significant contributions to the community, Book said, including the “Safe Santa Fe” initiative that started in 2012.

Book said the initiative aims to “brand” all the department's efforts in order to create higher awareness and to keep the campus safe for students, faculty and visitors.

The initiative includes a campus watch program, community policing, professional training for officers and mutual aid with five other law enforcement agencies. Officers will investigate any report they receive, educate students on subjects or recent trends they feel are vital to know about, and they provide a full-time police dispatch center.

The department also frequently attends student government meetings and posts safety tips in the “Today at Santa Fe” newspaper, which is an unusual gesture for other school police forces but beneficial for all constituents of the school, Book said.

The police department was recognized Monday at a ceremony for the award, and also for the Rocky Pomerance Excellence in Policing Award it received from the Florida Police Chiefs Association Awards banquet in June.

Book said stopping crime while it is happening is important, but preventing it is easier and will help education be more successful. He said these honors prove SFCPD is doing its job.

“Students need a safe environment to learn,” he said, “and we have provided (that).”

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