The International Association of Chiefs of Police has selected the Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department as first in the nation among colleges and universities for the organization’s 2014 National Law Enforcement Challenge. The challenge recognizes law enforcement traffic safety programs for 2013, focusing on those that address issues such as impaired driving, occupant protection and speeding.

“We are serious about safety at VCU and there are numerous challenges that we face as a campus law enforcement agency in an urban environment,” said VCU Police Chief John Venuti. “We are honored to be recognized for our commitment to traffic safety. There is nothing more important than the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

Since 1992, the National Law Enforcement Challenge has evaluated thousands of programs; hundreds of agencies have been recognized for implementing innovative and effective traffic initiatives.

“The VCU Police Department has made an outstanding impact on the safety of its students, faculty and visitors through its traffic safety programs,” said Dana Schrad, executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, the organization that coordinates the LEC program in Virginia.

“An urban campus with increased pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic presents challenges that the department has responded to with education and enforcement programs that are unparalleled on other college campuses,” said Schrad. “Some of VCU’s best campus traffic safety programs now serve as models for other colleges and universities.”

The VCU Police Department is recognized for its numerous initiatives, including (but not limited to):

•       Unveiling a Win or Lose cruiser, a police vehicle outfitted as half patrol car and half taxi cab with DUI messaging to promote the use of taxi cabs versus impaired driving.

•       Participating in multiple DUI checkpoints along roadways on VCU’s Monroe Park Campus with Virginia State Police and the Richmond Police Department.

•       Hosting safety talks on roadway safety, bicycle laws and safety, drunk driving and pedestrian safety that reached 11,600 students and parents and more than 5,000 VCU employees in 2013.

The VCUPD was involved in Mothers Against Drunk Driving programs, “Click It Or Ticket” seat belt enforcement checkpoints, offered a distracted driver simulator on campus and trained new officers on how to properly detect and test impaired drivers.

The department was also honored with the 2013 Governor’s Transportation Safety Award in the law enforcement category for its commitment to safety on the road.

 The National Law Enforcement Challenge first-place award will be presented to Venuti at the IACP’s annual conference in late October.