The Cornell University Police Department placed second in the university police category of the National Law Enforcement Challenge on Oct. 25. The award recognized CUPD’s efforts in traffic safety enforcement, education and accident prevention.
To determine the winners, the International Association of Chiefs of Police looked for police forces that place a strong emphasis on increasing seat belt usage and reducing speeding and impaired driving, according to David Honan, deputy chief of CUPD. The IACP committee also evaluated the officers' policies and training, in addition to recognizing the work of individual officers who excel on the job.
“I’m most proud of the fact that we have a good core group of officers that dedicate themselves to the safety to the public,” said CUPD Sgt. Anthony J. Tostanoski, who attended the conference.
After winning first place in the category of colleges and universities on the New York State level in April, CUPD was automatically entered to compete at the conference in Chicago.
At the Chicago conference, the IACP recognized CUPD for its use of creative traffic-safety programs. The award was also determined by police performance of education and prevention — a category CUPD excelled in, according to the IACP.
CUPD was recognized for increasing the seat belt usage of Cornell students from 88 percent in 2009 to 97 percent in 2010. Honan attributed this boost in compliance to increasing the number of tickets given to individuals who do not wear seat belts.
Additionally, CUPD saw a reduction in speed- and alcohol-related car accidents by 22 percent.
“Through our crime prevention office, we do an excellent alcohol awareness programs to include one where officers present to over 600 students in the Statler wine class,” Honan said.
CUPD has also expanded its traffic and pedestrian safety efforts by holding child seat installation and inspection workshops and forming different partnerships with Cornell bicycle and pedestrian committees.
The IACP awarded the first prize in the university police category to East Tennessee State University.
This is the fourth time CUPD has been recognized nationally for their work nationally. In both 2006 and 2007 CUPD won second place.
Besides the award in traffic safety, CUPD applied for awards for the prevention of underage drinking and driving and bicycle and pedestrian safety, which it did not win.
“We will put in again for those additional awards next year. We talked to some people to enhance our program so we will hope to win next year,” Honan said.
Honan said that next year CUPD will also concentrate on the “Saved by the Belt” program, which provides awards to citizens who were in accidents but were saved by wearing a seat belt.
“New York State doesn’t implement this policy, but Cornell will take the initiative here,” Honan said.