Secure in excellence

Published 4:27 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2019

It is a blessing to know that you’re in good hands.

We all learn, at one point or another, that the world is, indeed, a dangerous place. This helps underscore the tremendous importance of security systems and personnel that are exemplary.

Longwood University has a variety of outstanding selling points for prospective students, and outstanding security is on that list. We didn’t know to what degree this was true until recently, though.

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As a January university press release highlighted, for an unprecedented ninth straight year, the Longwood University Police Department (LUPD) has been ranked among the best university security operations in the country and is the top-ranked department among Virginia colleges and universities.

The recognition came from Security Magazine, a publication which produces annual listings, and Longwood came in the top 20 for the higher education category, the release cited. At No. 17, the university is the highest-ranked institution of higher education in the state and ranks behind only two other mid-sized universities nationwide.

Officials in the release rightly singled out Col. Bob Beach, who has led the LUPD since 2007. They noted that he has dedicated himself to public service for nearly 50 years, most of which did not come in a quiet, sleepy police department but rather one of the busiest in Fairfax County.

When we think of Longwood and security, our minds tend to recall the successful 2016 U.S. Vice Presidential Debate, and we were pleased to see this achievement mentioned in the release. Officials pointed out that the debate was one of the largest and most security-intense operations in Longwood history, and there were no arrests or major medical emergencies, a testament to the planning and operational capabilities of the LUPD.

It is also gratifying to know that the LUPD’s high acclaim is not simply due to its impressive technology but actually largely due to its people. This was reflected in the release via comments made by Beach, Longwood’s Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Tim Pierson, who oversees the police department, and Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV.

“Campus security is foremost on the mind of every university president in the country,” Reveley said. “The extended Longwood community is very fortunate to be able to rely on a police department with the kind of breadth and depth of experience and training that our officers draw from every day. That they are ranked among the best in the country is a testament to what we see every day: their professionalism, commitment to this community and compassion are second to none.”