University hires firm to review security

The University is hiring an outside firm to conduct a review of campus security and risks, a top administrator said June 7.

Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell said Security Risk Management Consultants, Inc. will “identify the risk level GW is exposed to and develop a physical security and risk management plan.”

SRMC, which has a history of advising universities on security matters, will pinpoint weaknesses to natural and manmade hazards to determine the effects of those vulnerabilities on the University, Darnell said.

“The assessment focuses on all areas of safety and security,” he said. “This includes policing, emergency preparedness, and environmental and occupational health and safety.”

The review comes at a time when both Darnell and University Police Chief Kevin Hay are concluding their first years on the job. Darnell stepped into his role last June, while Hay began managing UPD in September.

GW last contracted a security consulting firm in 2008 to explore the option of arming UPD officers.

Hay, who has an extensive background in policing after serving about 25 years in the U.S. Park Police, told The Hatchet in August that he needed to work with the department before he would consider whether or not to raise the question of allowing UPD officers to carry guns.

Arming UPD was a hot-button issue on campus after former chief Dolores Stafford co-authored a report supporting the arming of sworn campus police forces, and the University began talks on the option.

Darnell said this review, unlike the previous study that focused on UPD and arms, will be a more comprehensive assessment, and was not based on any single factor alone. He said the group has not been specifically asked to reconsider giving UPD guns, but the University will evaluate all safety recommendations.

SRMC founder Elliot Boxerbaum, a certified protection professional and security consultant, said the organization looks at the big picture when it comes to campus security.

Boxerbaum declined to comment when asked if the University is looking at the feasibility of arming UPD, deferring questions on the review’s specifics to Darnell. He added that the group has only been on campus twice and is just beginning its study.

“We’re just not at the point where we can even talk about something like that,” Boxerbaum said. “We’re just learning here.”

Darnell said the assessment is in progress and, upon its estimated completion in six months, the University will look at its findings and discuss potential future plans.

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