Clarion, Pa.- Not only does a new semester welcome back students, but it can also mark the arrival of new personnel.
Jason Hendershot has been named the new Director of Public Safety as of Jan. 12, and he looks to make a difference in the Clarion University Police with some short- and long-term goals.
Hendershot looks to focus on two main things in the upcoming months and years: to educate students on crime prevention practices and to get the university department accredited.
His first task is more geared to the present. Hendershot wants to develop crime prevention resources for those who are concerned.
This can and will include a crime alert system via the students’ outlook email addresses, much like the emergency and weather updates students are already receiving.
Tips and information regarding how to stop crime before it happens is also a big part of prevention.
Hendershot noted that dealing with crime when it happens is not a problem area with the public safety department or Clarion Borough Police.
“Their response is good,” he said.
Rather, he wants to make plans for short presentations to give to students in the short and long-term, much like how new freshman must go through mandatory orientation sessions their first semester.
Future presentations are also planned to include speaking to the Recognized Student Organizations on campus as well as community advisers during semester orientations.
Enforcement is a part of criminal justice. Hendershot wants people to know that it is not the only part; he said, “Education is the other aspect of law enforcement.”
“If you have a doubt, call the police,” said Hendershot in regard to students in unsettling situations. He pointed out that the law cannot be enforced if nothing is ever reported.
Hendershot will also be focusing his attention on his second goal: to be the Clarion University Police Department accredited.
The department needs to get assessed by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association to make sure the best practices are implemented.
“It all boils down to best practices,” said Hendershot.
This does not mean the process itself is simple, as months can turn into years for a department to reach the point at which it can become accredited. It requires a lot of introspection on the behalf of the department to “make sure [our] actions show what [our] polices say” according to Hendershot.
While very work-intensive, the process is geared to a department’s success. This success will, in turn, be able to further help Clarion University students not only be safer by being protected but by also being smarter in terms of crime prevention.
With these goals in mind, Jason Hendershot is very glad to call Clarion his new home, and he looks to making it an even better home for all its students and faculty.