Germanna becomes first in VCCS to earn State Certified Crime Prevention Campus status

Post was written by Michael Zitz on August 28, 2017


Germanna Community College's Police Capt. Karen Houchens (left) and Chief Craig Branch with certificate acknowledging GCC as a State Certified Crime Prevention Campus. (Photo by Robert A. Martin)
Germanna Community College’s Police Capt. Karen Houchens (left) and Chief Craig Branch with certificate acknowledging GCC as a State Certified Crime Prevention Campus. (Photo by Robert A. Martin)

Germanna Community College has been honored as the first school within the Virginia Community College System to become a State Certified Crime Prevention Campus. The distinction comes from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Criminal Justice Services Board. GCC Police Chief Craig Branch accepted the honor along with other college police staff, college president Dr. Janet Gullickson, and college board chair William Thomas at the Aug. 25th College Council meeting.

To be certified, a college or university must detail crime prevention goals, programs and accomplishments. A certified crime prevention campus must have 11 core safety elements and four electives; these include having a certified crime prevention specialist on staff, maintaining mutual aid agreements with other agencies, continuing compliance with the federal Jeanne Clery Act, having a crisis management plan in place and providing community based campus safety information/programs.

“We’re very proud of Chief Branch and our police department,” said Germanna President Gullickson. “In these times, it’s vital to have people in charge of college police who are on the cutting edge– and it’s very reassuring to have Chief Branch and his staff onboard at Germanna.”

“Crime prevention is a key element within every law enforcement officer’s duties and law enforcement agency’s mission,” Chief Branch said. “It’s a community-based proactive approach to policing. Obtaining this certification has been a key objective in our department’s strategic plan. However, this certification is more than just a college police department responsibility. It also requires a community effort with clear collaboration between the police department and college community. I would like to thank our college community, the Virginia Criminal Justice Services Board, and Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services Crime Prevention Center for such an outstanding program.”

Germanna will retain the crime prevention campus certification for three years before the college police department must complete a reassessment process to maintain certification, including assignment of additional Virginia certified crime prevention specialists.

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