Crime Prevention – two words that mean a lot to Towson University Police Officer Kia Williams. After working six years as an officer at the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center (MRDCC), a state correctional facility in Baltimore City, Kia discovered her desire to pursue a career in law enforcement. She saw crime prevention as a way to keep people safe and out of prison. Crime prevention was an opportunity to prevent the violence she often witnessed in the correctional system.
“There was a lot of violence in the facility among prisoners,” Kia said. “My experiences there really prepared me for becoming a police officer.”
In 2007, Kia was hired at the university and began working as a patrol officer on the TUPD’s Patrol Bureau. After working three years on patrol, Kia was offered a Crime Prevention Officer position in October 2010. She jumped at the opportunity to work with faculty, staff and students to help prevent crime across campus; it was why she had become a police officer in the first place.
“I wanted to make people more safety aware and conscious,” said Kia.
In her new role, Kia coordinates and promotes crime prevention education programs and events around campus. Such events include “Click It or Ticket,” a coordinated effort between TUPD and local law enforcement to promote seatbelt laws and safety; and “Safe Summer Send Off,” a drug and alcohol awareness event coordinated with the university’s Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Abuse Prevention Center (ATOD). Both events are held in May.
Among the upcoming events is one of Kia’s personal creations, “Citizens on Patrol,” a new annual walk around campus that unites police, faculty, staff, students and even McGruff the Crime Dog. The walk brings together the campus community in order to raise awareness of safety and crime prevention. It also fosters positive relations between the University Police and the rest of the campus community, something Kia believes is crucial to crime prevention.
“I really want to build a bridge between police and the rest of the campus community, particularly students,” said Kia. “I know when many students see the campus police they automatically think someone is getting in trouble or something bad happened. I want students to see [campus police] in a different light.”
A more relaxed and positive relationship among police and the campus community helps to instill more trust in the TUPD The everyday connection among the police and the community is what Kia loves the most about her job.
“I really love interacting with faculty, staff and students to make an impact and building strong relationships with them,” said Kia. “It’s the best part of my job.”