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Agency Spotlight: Vanderbilt University

Led by Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief of Police August Washington, the mission of Vanderbilt University Public Safety (VUPS) is to be the professional and comprehensive law enforcement agency providing safety and security services to Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Vanderbilt Health at One Hundred Oaks. VUPS is committed to service and dedicated to the protection and security of the entire Vanderbilt community.

VUPS provides services to the Vanderbilt community through the Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD), Parking Services, and the Office of Emergency Preparedness, Fire and Workplace Safety.

 VUPS maintains national, international, and state-level Accreditation through CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies), IACLEA (International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators), and TLEA (Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation).

VUPS is part of an elite group of college public safety agencies in the country that are accredited by CALEA and IACLEA. Accreditation is an important part of the VUPS mission to serve the Vanderbilt community with excellence and professionalism.

Diversity is an integral part of the Vanderbilt community as our students, faculty, staff, and medical center visitors come from all points around the globe. Because of this, it is important that VUPS has a diverse group of officers serving our community. Of the 100 sworn officers serving at VUPS, 67% are white, 31% are African American, 1% are Hispanic, and 1% are Asian, while 20% of the sworn officers are female.

Vanderbilt University Police Department

VUPS delivers law enforcement and security services through the Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD). VUPD operates three police precincts: University Campus, Medical Center, and One Hundred Oaks, utilizing 100 sworn, state-certified police officers and more than 120 non-sworn Community Service Officers. Along with police and security services, each precinct has a dedicated community relations officer who provides programming on various crime prevention issues. VUPD also provides the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) program as a service to the community. VUPD operates a 24/7 state-of-the-art communications center maintaining all emergency and non-emergency calls, including 9-1-1 and monitoring the Video Patrol program, intrusion and panic alarms, and blue light phones.

As a full-service police department, VUPD operates units for criminal investigations; records, property, and evidence management; training and special events coordination; and Accreditation and compliance, which manages the VUPS accreditation process and Clery Act compliance for Vanderbilt University.

Other VUPD Services

VUPD offers a variety of services to support the Vanderbilt community including:

  • Alarm monitoring for burglar and panic alarms
  • Emergency phones
  • Security assessments
  • Fingerprinting
  • Lighting comments
  • Lost and found
  • Operation ID (for bicycle and laptop)

Crime prevention programming including topics on:

  • Domestic violence
  • Workplace violence
  • Personal safety
  • Sexual assault, alcohol and drug awareness
  • Travel safety
  • Property protection
  • Many more!

Rape Aggression Defense Systems for Women (R.A.D.)

RAD is a comprehensive course taught by VUPS certified RAD instructors. This course includes a workbook and reference manual and teaches basic self-defense tactics of awareness, prevention, risk-reduction and avoidance, and basic, hands-on defense training.

SafeVU is a free, downloadable safety application for IOS and Android phones.

  • Emergency services with just two easy taps connecting to VUPD Communications Center
  • Submit non-emergency reports with text, photos, or videos
  • Anonymous reporting
  • Information on Vandy Vans
  • Assign contacts to monitor your safety at your request
  • View VUPS emergency guides

Parking Services

Parking Services maintains and operates the use of university parking lots and garages on campus and provides parking enforcement services, including parking permits for students, staff, faculty, and visitors. Additionally, Parking Services operates the Vandy Van student transportation system providing free transportation to our students around the VU campus community.

Office of Emergency Preparedness, Fire and Workplace Safety

The Office of Emergency Preparedness, Fire and Workplace Safety (OEP) purpose is to ensure a safe and prepared environment for the thousands of students, faculty, staff, and visitors in our community every day. Working in conjunction with the Campus Emergency Management Planning Group (CEMP) and the Workplace Safety Group (WSG), OEP provides preparedness, response, recovery, and workplace safety services that ensure the safety and well-being of the Vanderbilt University community.

Along with stakeholders from virtually every campus entity, the OEP also coordinates training, preparedness, and response activities with the Metro Nashville Office of Emergency Management, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, and several other colleges and universities in Davidson County. It is through these partnerships that OEP is able to increase the university’s resiliency to incidents–both natural and man-made. Office personnel are available 24/7 to respond to emergency incidents on campus as needed to support response and recovery efforts.








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