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StudCo holds police panel

University, Charlottesville officials discuss student drinking, area crime rate

Four officers from the University and Charlottesville police departments participated in a Wednesday night panel hosted by Student Council's Safety and Wellness Committee.

The officers addressed a wide range of topics, including how to deal with a police officer when intoxicated and how to check the status of crimes that have occurred in different areas.

The panel also discussed what seems to be a recent increase in crime in the University area. Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said the number of crimes has increased by only a small number, yet his department has received "more parent calls than ever before" from parents concerned about their children's safety.

In addition to discussing crime, the officers also talked about issues related to drinking, stating that their primary concern at all times is to ensure student safety. Longo shared an anecdote about an intoxicated student whose friends attempted to carry him away from police officers before the officers were able to intercede. The student was taken to the hospital by police officers and medical personnel told Longo that if the student had not been brought in that night, then he likely would have died.

"Safety comes first," said Angela Tabler, crime prevention coordinator for the University Police Department. "We encourage faculty and staff to report things when they see it."

Committee Co-Chair Nadia Khatouri said she saw the panel as a positive way to increase student collaboration with authorities on safety issues.

"The safety forum gives students an outlook to productively express their concerns," she said. "We're also trying to educate students now on how to manage their own safety."

The officers stressed several times that safety is a legitimate concern, and any students who feel uncomfortable in a situation should take necessary precautions. The first step is to reach out to someone for help.\n"If one message came out of Yeardley Love's death, it's that silence is deadly," Longo said. "If you don't trust your gut, if you don't feel good about your situation, then reach out to someone, and that someone may be wearing a uniform"


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