Facilitating community engagement and reinforcing campus-wide safety
The University of Washington’s campus police serve nearly 68,000 students, faculty, staff, and visitors within the 700-plus-acre campus. This new 30,000-square-foot purpose-built facility supports the unique role and character of this agency in what is essentially a small city. The design solution is the result of intentional alignment with the police department’s main goals: the new central location improves visibility and vehicular access to main arterials while providing new program elements, such as suspect and evidence processing that support criminal procedure and investigation. This reduces response time and leads to an overall reduction in, and fear of, crime.
A welcoming and transparent main entrance with adjacent multi-use meeting space facilitates community engagement and mentoring. The police welcome all of campus to use the building’s community room, adding both an asset to the community and positive physical interactions to strengthen local relationships. The university’s residence halls and other campus buildings extend west of campus into a lively “university district,” where the service boundaries between university policy and Seattle’s police are blurred. With frequent collaboration between agencies, a convenient report writing room was provided for outside agencies.
As a large world-class public university, the University of Washington is engaged in dialogue relative to local, national, and world events, which can involve activities resulting in civil disturbance. The university has demonstrated its commitment to safety by prioritizing this non-academic project to be located in a prominent location on a campus that has huge demand for buildable sites. This project enables the university to stay competitive in attracting the best students by increasing perception of safety, a powerful factor for students and parents during the selection process. Transgender students feel safest using restrooms in the campus police facility, reinforcing the building’s ability to support safety not only campus-wide but at the individual level.