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2010 News Releases

Longwood Police Department ranked 10th in nation by magazine

November 30, 2010

Chief Beach holding a copy of the Security Magazine issue Longwood's Chief Beach holds a copy of the Security Magazine issue that ranks Longwood's Police Department as the 10th best in the nation among colleges and universities

The Longwood University Police Department has been ranked 10th best in the nation among colleges and universities in an annual evaluation of the security industry by Security Magazine.

Longwood is one of only 24 security organizations nationwide, and the only one from Virginia, to be listed in the category Education: Colleges and Universities in the November 2010 issue of the publication. Last year Longwood's police force ranked 24th in the survey and was one of only 27, and also the only one from Virginia, to be listed.

The issue contains the fifth annual Security 500 Survey, Benchmark and Trends report. The report lists a combined 500 security organizations in 16 categories. The rankings are based on a survey sent to security organizations that includes both a general section of questions as well as questions unique to each respective category.

"The ranking is due not just to our security unit but to the support we've been receiving," said Bob Beach, Longwood's police chief. "The survey looks at everything, including technology and finance and philosophy and support. In her last year, President Cormier made certain that we were not going to cut funding for public safety. This was important because otherwise, with budget cuts, we would have lost staff through attrition. And President Finnegan recently said he understands the need to support us financially and in other ways."

Asked for specific reasons why the department moved up in the rankings, Beach said it may have been due to the "enhancement of our video surveillance. Last year we received $75,000, in year-end money from the university's budget, for backbone infrastructure of our video surveillance system. This has greatly enhanced our video capabilities and our overall security."

"I also attribute our ranking to our active engagement with our partners," Beach said. "We have a strong relationship with the Town Police, with whom we have concurrent jurisdiction. Also, our increasing partnership with Jim White (Longwood's director of environmental health and safety and emergency management) and his staff has added dramatically to our success. Jim's office takes an all-hazards approach, which is exactly what is needed."

Beach was one of 15 security leaders, and the only one from higher education, who was asked by Security Magazine to help refine the survey. "After last year's survey, they were apparently impressed enough with this department to contact me asking for ways to tighten up the survey and make it more relevant," he said.

The lead article in the November issue, "The Security 500: Leveraging People-Processes-Technology" by Mark McCourt, cites this assistance. "An important improvement in this year's Benchmarking Survey is the coaching we received from business leaders to refine the data collected and the benchmark reports provided to all participants," the article says. The article lists Beach and the other leaders and thanks them for "graciously offering their time, expertise and direction" to the survey.

"I'm just really proud of the ranking, and I'm proud of the people in this department. Their efforts are unceasing and courageous, and they are devoted to the university's safety. Plus, there has never been a stronger supporter, or a more insightful leader, of the security of this place than Dr. Tim Pierson (vice president for student affairs). I could not have found a better person to work with."

Longwood's Police Department has 15 full-time and seven part-time officers and six full-time and four part-time dispatchers. The department also includes Integrated Security Services (formerly the ID Center), which has one staff member, and Parking Services, which has three staffers.