VCU Safety Ambassadors
Virginia Commonwealth University safety ambassadors are unarmed, non-sworn, civilian employees who will respond to calls for service for VCU Police in situations that do not require a sworn police officer. There are two teams: safety ambassadors and student safety ambassadors.
VCU Police embraces the concept of a non-sworn response unit. As the department works each day to meet the service demands of the community, there are many requests to assist the community that don't require a sworn law enforcement officer. This team also places significant focus on raising the level of engagement with the VCU community.
Full-time safety ambassadors have completed mental health training to include: CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) and Mental Health First Aid. Training helps the team recognize someone going through a mental health crisis and how to render aid or offer resources to that individual. Safety Ambassadors will patrol the Monroe Park and MCV Campuses, including the VCU Medical Center. The team has marked “safety ambassador” vehicles and wear neon yellow and black uniforms during their shifts. They will handle calls for service that do not require a sworn police officer, such as routine medical transports of patients from the VCU Medical Center to another VCU-owned facility and welfare/status checks on students living in residence halls.
Why did VCU Police start this unit?
In 2020, VCU’s Safety and Wellbeing Advisory Committee (SWAC) was created to improve VCU’s public safety model, fostering systematic reform that supports the safety and well-being of every individual on campus. One of the committee’s final recommendations was that the university create a non-sworn crisis and de-escalation unit.
When was this unit activated? Where will they respond?
The safety ambassador unit was created in August, 2022 and was fully operational in January 2023 after staff members completed 188 hours of training. The safety ambassadors' areas of focus will be the Monroe Park Campus, including all VCU buildings and property and will also include the VCU Medical Center and all hospital property and surrounding buildings.
How does a community member work with a safety ambassador?
Students, faculty and staff are welcome to approach safety ambassadors and student safety ambassadors when they see them on campus. When community members call VCU Police, dispatchers determine which calls for service warrant a response from a safety ambassador.
Student Safety Ambassadors
Student Safety Ambassadors are also an alternative staffing resource for community members. These student workers conduct basic foot patrols and proactively address potential safety issues. They ensure lights are properly working on campus and take note of property damage to report to VCU Facilities. They also make sure the university’s Emergency Reporting Telephones are working and will assist community members with other non-emergency requests, such as asking for directions, motor vehicle assistance, answering questions about transportation, working at events, traffic control and walking people to their cars at night. Student safety ambassadors will be present in places with high volumes of students, such as outside the University Student Commons and at the Compass.
(Students who are interested in working with the Student Safety Ambassador Program can reach out to the Safety Ambassador Supervisor by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.)