Tucked away inside the Virginia Tech Police Department (VTPD), in a room glowing with computer monitors and security camera displays, lives the VTPD Security Center.

Members of the university community may not realize it, but the Security Center team is always there to help keep the campus community safe. A team of six full-time employees works 24/7, monitoring more than 600 security cameras across campus and VTPD radio channels and assisting with coordination of a range of key security and safety services.

The Security Center is a prime example of how the Virginia Tech Police Department puts collaboration at the heart of its efforts. Security Center team members partner daily with Emergency Management, the Facilities Department, Student Affairs, Housing and Residential Life, Athletics, and other departments to serve the community.

When an emergency or security tip is reported in the Hokie Ready app, the Security Center is the first to review and respond. The Hokie Ready app is free mobile safety technology for the Virginia Tech community that empowers students, employees, and campus visitors to take charge of their own safety and look out for those around them. With the Hokie Ready app, campus members can report a disturbance, obtain a virtual escort with Friend Walk to navigate campus, and much more.

The Security Center also dispatches Safe Ride drivers through the TransLoc app. Safe Ride is a free nighttime safety escort service that operates from dusk until dawn and provides transportation or a walking escort, upon request, to persons who must cross campus during the nighttime alone. If Safe Ride is requested outside the normal operational hours of the van, the Security Center will offer either a ride with a police officer or a walking escort. Downloading the TransLoc app is the fastest way to request rides and ensure the quickest response times.

During emergencies, the Security Center teams with Emergency Management to assist in deployment of VT Alerts emergency notifications and sirens across campus.

The team also coordinates student firearm and ammunition drop-off and storage, triages Facilities and residential maintenance issues during afterhours and weekends, and helps augment on-campus event security efforts by monitoring extra radio channels. Additionally, the Security Center answers the university’s 24-hour assistance phone line that can be accessed internationally.

“The Security Center is integral in the Virginia Tech Police Department’s efforts to bolster the university’s culture of safety, security, and preparedness. The team is always working to support the campus community,” said Virginia Tech Police Chief Mac Babb.

Ashley McNew, lead security center representative, joined the VTPD in 2010 and has served in a variety of roles within the department since. McNew stressed how Security Center employees are driven by a common commitment to public service – and a shared enjoyment of variety on the job.

“It has been rewarding to see the spirit of Ut Prosim in action among the hardworking and dedicated security center team members. It has also been exciting to watch their passion for service grow in new team members,” McNew said.

Written by Christy Myers

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