NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Leading into the school year, Tennessee State University upgraded their security with new technologies, helping it become one of the safest colleges in the country.
"For a person to do well and be successful, we need to create a safe environment for them to be educated in," Curtis Johnson, TSU's chief of staff, said.
In the past few years, TSU has put a big focus on safety and security, and they've cut down on crime and moved up in college safety rankings. TSU now rankings in the top 50 safest colleges in the country according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security.
"Us being in the top 8% of safe campuses in the country is significant for us considering that we hadn't always been there," Johnson explained.
Leading into the 2019-2020 school year, TSU officials made more upgrades to security, starting with cameras and surveillance. Hundreds of cameras now keep an eye on students and staff while they're on campus, and if anything causes concern, police know they can easily contact students through new technologies like social media and text messages.
"If we find somebody that's concerning on our campus, we can put that information, be on the lookout, via those technological avenues," TSU police chief Greg Robinson said.
In addition, TSU officials have put an increased focus on controlling building access and the perimeter of campus, they've added new LED lighting, as well as new emergency call boxes. University officials want to make their campus the safest place possible, and give everyone a sense of security.
The school is furthering their safety and security measures by involving students and faculty. The university now has the only co-ed R.A.D., or Rape Aggressive Defense program, which is open to students, faculty, and staff. RAD emphasizes awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance. The 12-hour class is taught over the course of three days in four-hour sessions.
In 2016, TSU and the Nashville Metro Police Department formed what’s believed to be the nation’s first Collegiate Citizens Police Academy. Students in the five-week training program are exposed to various aspects of police work, including domestic violence investigation, and making split-second decisions. Graduates of the program make up what’s called Tiger Patrol and work in shifts to guide fellow students on campus, or alert the police if a situation warrants it. More than 50 students have participated in the program since its inception about three years ago.