WCU police add new program targeting freshmen and sophomores

WCU students participate in a police-sponsored Rape Aggression Defense program.

WCU students participate in a police-sponsored Rape Aggression Defense program.

Along with the fall programming the Western Carolina University police department offers each year, this year’s lineup includes a new program – “Crime Prevention and Services.”

Sergeant Jacob Deal, overseer of the department’s programs, said he put the program together, which is geared toward freshmen and sophomore students, but is helpful to all students. The program is offered to all classrooms, as well as residence halls, clubs and organizations, sororities and fraternities, he said.

“My goal is if I can start getting into classrooms and dorm rooms and teaching this program to as many students and faculty and staff as I can, that as we progress to three, four, five years down the road, these students are going to have heard this information over and over and over again, seeing it again and again, and hopefully will have picked it up and may use some of that information that they’ve learned,” Deal said.

During his introduction, Deal explains where the police department is located, how to get there and the importance of utilizing the department’s emergency dispatch number, 828-227-8911, rather than 911, which goes to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. “It cuts out the middle man when they use our emergency number,” Deal said.

Other topics discussed include important on-and-off campus resources, crime statistics, how to respond during an active shooter event, risk reduction strategies, drug and alcohol risk, consent and sexual assault, bystander intervention and victim services.

During the consent portion, Deal shows a video describing what consent is, gives the WCU’s definition of what consent is and urges students to report cases of sexual assault.

“We know that sexual assaults are unreported for many reasons that are out of our hands, but we want students to know that it’s OK to report sexual assaults and that we’re going to conduct an investigation,” Deal said. “We’re here for them and we’ll assist them in any way we can. Even if they don’t want to file a report, we would like to get the information that a sexual assault has occurred and see if we can offer them some victim services.”

Deal said he’s received a lot of positive feedback on the program along with plenty of requests. Another popular program has been the “Rape Aggression Defense” program. Deal said six campus community partners were sent to a rape aggression defense instructor course last December.

The department offers a RAD express program, which is an hourlong condensed version of the regular course that is designed to show self-defense techniques for situations where one might be a victim of an assault or sexual assault. There also are nine-hour and 12-hour versions of the program, which is open to males and females, Deal said.

“It’s been really popular,” Deal said. “We teach that in dorms a lot. The students like to be able to punch on the bags and do some physical techniques.”

Other programs offered include: “Report IT”; “Drug Risk Awareness”; “Alcohol Risk Awareness”; “Dating/Domestic Violence and Stalking”; “Traffic/DWI Awareness”; “Run, Hide, Fight – Surviving an Active Shooter Event”; and “Sexual Assault Risk Awareness.”

The programs are approximately one hour, but can be modified to fit into limited timeframes. They can also be modified to discuss a specific topic.

Click HERE to request a program.

More information about a program can be found at http://www.wcu.edu/discover/campus-services-and-operations/university-police/programming.aspx.

For any questions or concerns, contact Deal at 828-227-3207 or jpdeal@wcu.edu.