UPD places first in national competition

Spinnaker

After a lot of hard work, UNF’s University Police Department placed first out of 16 total departments in the National Law Enforcement Challenge’s “College/University” category, said Assistant Chief Mark Richardson.

The NLEC is a competition held in the U.S. by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, whose main goal is to lower traffic fatalities, according to their official Web site, theiacp.org.

The competition’s other categories include municipalities, sheriff’s departments and highway patrol as well as other law enforcement agencies. Each category is then subdivided by size so a small-town police department is not pitted against a larger one, according to the NLEC application.

However, UNF’s UPD won first place in the college/university category without any subdivisions of size incorporated.

They beat Virginia Tech, Cornell University and California Polytechnic State University, who placed second and tied for third respectively, Richardson said.

“In all honesty, it’s a big deal,” Richardson said about the award.  “We beat Cornell, and that shows we can beat schools [that have] a lot of money.”

Applicants are judged on their departments’ effectiveness, training materials and how well they educate the public, according to the NLEC application.

Applicants submit a three-ring binder containing information about the department’s programs and policies and must also provide traffic statistics; UNF’s data was compiled by Deputy Rick Dowling, Richardson said.

Statistics aren’t everything, though.

UPD recently hit the campus with more tickets than usual in an effort to reduce drunk driving.  They also held demonstrations to increase seatbelt usage.

The award includes complimentary conference registration at the IACP annual conference, according to a press release.

UPD entered another competition called the Chief’s Challenge. The results are not yet in, but the IACP has told Richardson UNF will place, he said.