National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is today, Jan. 9, and it’s the perfect time to thank the Augusta University Police Department personnel who protect and serve to keep our campuses safe.
“Our police department is made up of men and women dedicated to service excellence through partnerships that reduce crime and create a safe environment for our faculty, staff, students and friends,” said Jim Lyon, chief of the Augusta University Police Department. “Each day, our officers put on their badge knowing they may face extremely dangerous situations and I appreciate them protecting our campuses day after day.”
Since 1973, the university’s police department has provided professional law enforcement and occupational safety programs for all campuses.
Housed under the police department are several divisions, including Patrol, Investigations, Community Services and Professional Standards.
With over 50 Peace Officer Standards Training (POST) certified officers, the police department is able to be both guardian and warrior due to its position as a full-service law enforcement agency for AU and Augusta University Health.
This full-service agency goes beyond officers patrolling the different campuses. Their work extends to an on-campus sub-station on the Summerville Campus as well as the RAVE Guardian app and crime prevention programs to give every member of the university community as many tools as possible to stay safe and feel secure.
Even with all of these tools, the police department wants everyone in the university community to take an active role in their own safety and the safety of those around them. One of the ways the department accomplishes this goal is with the JagSafe campaign, which offers faculty, staff and students tips to stay safe in and around campus.
“Campus safety is a shared responsibility,” said Lyon. “We always strive to maintain a safe environment for everyone who visits our campus, but it is up to each of us to use good judgment and take measures to protect ourselves and our property.”
While the police department’s mission is to promote a safe atmosphere on campus, the department has found new ways to help students know officers are friendly people who are here to help.
In an effort to reach out and connect with more students on campus, AU Police Officer Samantha Desjardins came up with a fun activity for students this fall that involved searching for beautifully painted Jaguar-themed rocks.
The rocks, which Desjardins painted herself, are nicknamed #JagGems and they feature a variety of Augusta University’s logos and mascots.
If students found and returned the rocks, they won a “swag bag” full of fun items such as an Augusta University water bottle, school supplies and more.
Desjardins said she just wanted to create a fun activity to engage the campus.
“We would just like the students to connect with us a little bit more,” Desjardins said. “The officers are not just riding around answering calls and trying to find bad stuff going on. We are here for them.”
The other ways campus law enforcement officials connect with the community is with morning conversations over a cup of Joe and its American Heart Association fundraiser Pork with the PoPo.
Designed to strengthen community engagement, Coffee with a Cop is an ongoing event that offers a safe environment to talk about any subject. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to come with questions, talk with an officer and enjoy free coffee.
The department’s third annual Pork with the PoPo will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28 at Annex II, 524 15th St. Plates with a barbecue sandwich (pork or chicken), chips and drink are $8 if ordered before Feb. 21 and $10 after. Proceeds benefit the American Heart Association. Pre-order meals here or call 706-721-2914.
For more information, contact the Augusta University Police Department, or call 706-721-2911 if you have an emergency.