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Stevens Attends Campuses National Terrorism Conference

By: Katie Vangsness
UW-RF News Bureau

UW-River Falls Director of Public Safety Priscilla Stevens participated in a U.S. Department of Justice conference on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction as they relate to colleges and universities.

The conference was held in Washington D.C., on Dec. 4-5, at George Washington University. The Office of Domestic Preparedness is co-hosting the event with the DOJ, and will be attended by directors and chiefs of safety from colleges and universities. Stevens was invited to represent 275 higher education institutions in the Midwest.

Stevens attended an earlier meeting in June that focused on the topic of how best to communicate vital information to campuses. From that meeting, the December conference was recommended by Louis Quijas, FBI assistant director. Only a few directors and chiefs of campuses participateD in the December meeting, which will focus on building strategies to provide a safe environment at college campuses. Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the public has become aware of the threats to America.

"There has always been concern for college campuses. Now, after the terrible events of 9/11, everyone is aware of them," commented Stevens, "Colleges and Universities in the United States have nuclear reactors, chemical and biological laboratories, and large capacity arenas or stadiums. On any given day there are 6,000 to 8,000 people on our UW-RF campus."

The DOJ has estimated approximately 15 million college students are in the United States with only 30,000 campus law enforcement officers and security professionals who serve students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The conference will also cover current challenges such as: high value targets, cyber crimes, infrastructure, and problems of intelligence sharing with the FBI and student tracking systems.

A new program will also be on the agenda that hopes to train all public safety officers with the skills to recognize and deal with weapons of mass destruction. Federal funding will pay for the training.

Stevens was elected to represent the Mid American Region for the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators by her fellow directors. She will represent more than 275 institutions of higher education in 13 states. Stevens is a veteran of campus safety for 21 years. She is in her sixth year at UW-RF.


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