Southwest’s Police Services/Public Safety Department wins 2019 AACC Awards of Excellence

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Southwest Tennessee Community College wins the American Association of Community Colleges’ Community College Safety and Planning award for innovative practices and state-of-the-art training.

Southwest Tennessee Community College’s Police Services/Public Safety Department has earned national recognition as the winner of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) 2019 Award of Excellence for Community College Safety and Planning. The prestigious award recognizes exceptional work among the nation’s 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions.

"This is such an amazing honor," President Tracy D. Hall said. "I am profoundly proud of Director L.A. Webb and her entire staff of talented law enforcement professionals. Their dedication and innovation in serving and protecting our college community has earned them this esteemed recognition, for which they are truly deserving."

Police Services/Public Safety Director L. Angela Webb accepted the award on behalf of her department at the 2019 AACC annual convention in Orlando, Florida, April 15. “I'm elated that my department is the recipient of the AACC Award of Excellence,” said Webb. “It is truly an honor for my team to be recognized for their commitment to the safety of our college. Being acknowledged as a hard working group dedicated to providing the very best service is paramount.” Webb views the award as an endorsement of their department’s strategic planning to serve and protect and promote campus safety.

The department’s 41 officers are charged with providing a safe environment for more than 10,000 faculty, staff and students at two main campuses and three centers. Since joining Southwest in 2015, Webb has fostered a culture of safety through innovative practices, public awareness campaigns, and state-of-the art training.

From the creation of the Southwest Emergency Response Team (SERT) to conducting active shooter drills to engaging in and providing training on sexual assault and drug and alcohol awareness, Webb and her team have increased the level of safety awareness and accountability among the Southwest community. She also has built a strong collaboration with such community partners as the Memphis Medical Collaborative to ensure safeguards are in place for events near the College’s Union Avenue Campus, and partnered with the Memphis Police Department to provide her officers Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Active Shooter Certification Training (A.L.E.R.R.T.). Southwest Police officers have also been certified as instructors in Krav Maga, Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings, ASP Baton, and even Child Passenger Safety.

In her three years as director, Webb has noticed a change in people’s perception to work together to protect the Southwest community. “We watch out for each other – I think people realize now that safety is everyone’s job – that’s what makes this award so meaningful to me,” Webb added.

The AACC is the primary advocacy organization for the nations’ community colleges. Since 2013, the AACC has recognized individuals who have excelled in their fields and given back to their community through a variety of awards. The awards shine a national spotlight on individuals who offer promising practices to AACC member colleges. The Community College Safety Planning and Leadership Award recognizes exemplary practices and innovation in campus safety and emergency response strategies, programs, and procedures.