Campus Security Update

To be effectively delivered, a rigorous and exemplary Jesuit education requires a secure and aware community. Gonzaga University’s department of Campus Public Safety and Security is working hard to ensure that the more than 7,000 people living, working and studying on campus can do so in a safe and caring environment. Supporting the educational and developmental mission of the University’s department of Student Development, campus security has been making several changes over the past year to improve safety and prevent crime.

Brian Kenny, director of campus public safety and security and Becky Wilkey, associate director of campus public safety and security identified the areas in which these changes have taken place.

“First, we’ve improved our relationship with the Spokane Police Department,” said Kenny. “We have commissioned officers who will work for us. They help us with the neighborhood where security officers are also doing proactive patrolling.”

This relationship yielded exactly the results Gonzaga hoped for during a period of increased crime in the 2013-2014 academic year.

“We saw about a 25 percent spike in bike thefts and cars being broken into,” Kenny explained. “We worked for 2 weeks alongside the police department to identify problem areas. They made arrests, identifying criminals that were operating in our area and got them out of there. We saw an immediate reduction in crime – in fact, it flat-lined and stayed that way for the rest of the year.”

Wilkey explained that this improved relationship is in part due to the Gonzaga campus security team being trained alongside the SPD.

“They’ve opened up their trainers and training facility for us,” she said, “so now we have continuous training. We are getting everyone up to where they should be, which has also helped that relationship.” This training became available when Gonzaga’s campus security team received a very limited commission from the SPD. Part of the commission process includes SPD training and information exchanges.

“The information that affects us is now shared with us,” said Kenny, “which is a nice help.”

Another new security feature is that on-campus residence halls are in the process of being outfitted with keyless entry doors to help prevent unauthorized access.

“It should take a couple of years to get it entirely turned around,” said Wilkey, “which is actually pretty quick. It’s a lot of technology.” Once Gonzaga has access to the software on which these keyless entry systems run, an alert can be sent to Campus Security when a door has been propped open so that a security officer can respond. This will go a long way in helping to prevent crime in the halls, as propped doors can provide access for criminals.

Additionally, campus security is now providing self-defense classes free of charge throughout the year, as well as active-shooter scenario training for staff and students. Crime prevention presentations are provided to students and parents during the orientation process, also. In years past, three brief (10-15 minute) presentations were made by someone other than a security officer. This year, there were six full information sessions and individual sessions for parents with security officers.

“Parents now get to hear first-hand what crimes we’re dealing with, our Title IX processes, responses – everything,” said Kenny. Feedback from parents and students has been quite positive.

“Parents look at us as both a resource and a partner,” said Wilkey. “We are an extension of them, so every moment that we get, we try to make it a teachable one. We are transparent with that and parents appreciate it.”

Many of the changes that are happening within Campus Security are due in large part to a security assessment, or “security task force” that began in the fall of 2013. Prior to that, the department hadn’t been reviewed for almost 20 years. Opportunities that became evident included:

  • Room for staffing growth in response to an increased student population
  • The creation of a formal crime-prevention program
  • Appointing a position responsible for ensuring compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act
  • Providing Title IX training
  • Clarifying Campus Security’s role around the institution
  • Outlining emergency management
  • Off-campus registration for students who don’t live on campus anymore

Committee members on the task force included local law enforcement, community members and representatives from the Logan neighborhood C.O.P.S. The department will now take the results from the task force and implement what they can over the next 3 to 5 years.

“It feels like our arms are more extended out into the community and we are being well-received,” said Wilkey. “I think the biggest thing to come of this has been the addition of an extra officer.”

For a department that is at work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, having an extra officer has helped toward balancing the student-to-security personnel ratio and Campus Security’s ability to create and implement security plans for event security and protection details in addition to the auto, bike and foot patrols and programs in crime prevention.

“We’re at the forefront now,” added Kenny. “Instead of being considered just an asset on campus, we are leading.”

All of these changes are paying off for the Gonzaga community; 2013-2014 was the first year that statistically, the area saw a reduction in crime. Reporting requirements continue to change as well. You can view reports and statistics in the annual report available on the department’s blog at The latest report is anticipated to be complete and available sometime later in September.

If you would like to make a gift that can have an impact on operations like campus security, consider giving to the Fund for Gonzaga at