A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the WKU Police Department and the Barren County Sheriff’s Office to provide security for the WKU campus located in Glasgow has been in the planning stages for well over a year. However, that MOU came to fruition Tuesday (Feb. 16) when Barren County Sheriff’s Deputy James Duff became the first SRO (School Resource Officer) assigned to the WKU Glasgow campus.
“We are extremely pleased for everyone on our campus to have Deputy Duff serving in this capacity,” said Dr. Sally Ray, the WKU Glasgow Regional Chancellor who led the effort to secure the partnership. “We have taken several measures over the past couple of years to improve and emphasize student and faculty safety on this campus, and this is one more step in that direction.”
According to Ray, the campus has updated its emergency response procedures, added a welcome center at the front entrance as a point of contact for those entering the building and outfitted the campus with a sophisticated and comprehensive video surveillance system, which is directly connected to the WKU Police Department.
“We take campus safety very seriously at WKU, and we work very closely with Chief Deane of the WKU Police Department to ensure we maintain a safe campus for everyone,” Ray said. “We are grateful for Chief Deane’s support, as well as that of the WKU Student Affairs Office and to Sheriff Keen, as well, for working together as a team to make campus security a priority at WKU Glasgow.”
“Deputy Duff has an office on campus and access to a number of WKU resources that will support him in his mission,” Keen said. “I believe this will be a strong partnership for WKU, and our presence on the Glasgow campus will provide a sense of reassurance for all students and faculty who are there.”
In addition, Keen said Duff would be available to instructors who may want him to speak to a class about a law enforcement related topic, and he will be available to consult with students seeking guidance about issues in their personal lives that may involve the legal system in some way. Both Ray and Keen have emphasized the positive nature of this partnership, as well.
“We want our students and instructors to feel comfortable in reaching out to Deputy Duff and asking for his advice, guidance or asking him to speak to classes or other groups on campus,” Ray said. “He has an extensive law enforcement background and over 20 years of experience, so we want to tap into that for the benefit of everyone on this campus.”
WKU Glasgow student body president Samantha Johnson told the Bowling Green Daily News in December said that there were students who were worried about not having a WKU Police officer on campus. Johnson said concerns are mostly prompted by the shootings that seem to have become commonplace on school campuses across the country.
Bill Walter, Regional Vice Chancellor for the WKU Glasgow campus, said everyone understands and shares this concern, which motivated Ray and him to pursue this partnership.
“The WKU Police Department is stretched as far as it can be stretched,” Walter said. “So, although this partnership is somewhat of a new approach for the university, it made perfect sense to approach the outstanding law enforcement professionals in Barren County to help us.”
Keen, Ray and Deane agreed to a one-year partnership, but according to WKU administration, it must be divided into two segments because at this point it will involve two fiscal years. The first segment will run through June 30. However, Ray felt confident that all parties involved are committed to continuing the MOU for a full year, and they will assess its impact at that point.
“We will begin the approval process to extend it to a full year very soon,” Ray said. “We are very optimistic this MOU will be a huge success for all parties, including our students and faculty.”
Contact: Sally Ray, (270) 659-6099