RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College Campus Police Department has been presented with AAA Insurance’s East Central Community Traffic Safety Program Award.
Police departments in different regions of the state for their efforts in promoting traffic safety through successful programs in their communities. Rio’s Campus Police Department was received the award for the installation of a sidewalk and speedbumps along East College Street, which has both higher pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The company observes submitted projects for a period of time to ensure its success before presenting the award. Campus Police Chief Scott Borden said he felt the project reflects the department’s stance on being proactive in public safety.
“It’s humbling to be recognized for AAA for this project. Keeping everyone safe on campus is our first priority and it’s reassuring to know the public sees that our efforts are effective. We believe it’s important for us to be proactive and resolve potential issues before they have a chance to occur,” Borden said. “We have a lot of students that walk through campus along East College Street, and at the same time, it’s a busily traveled road. We needed to make sure the students had a safe place to walk while keeping the traffic from speeding through the area.”
While the award only honors police departments, Chief Borden said earning it would not have been possible without the collaboration of Rio’s Archon Alumni Association and Village of Rio Grande Mayor Matt Easter. The project first began when members of Archon were looking for ways to improve student experiences on campus. Archon took the lead in planning and funding the sidewalk, while the department coordinated with Easter and the Village to have the speedbumps installed on the public road. Borden said he is grateful for their support in the project.
“Mayor Matt Easter and the Archon Alumni Association deserve this award just as much as we do. While we may have initiated the ideas, their support and collaboration are what made this project a success. A couple years ago, the Archon members asked me for one way we can make campus safer for students. My answer was a sidewalk. They immediately started working with us to make it happen,” Borden said. “Matt went above and beyond to take our efforts a step further by getting speedbumps installed. Because it’s a public road in town, we needed the Village’s full support in the endeavor. We’re very grateful to know that local and campus organizations as well as the Village of Rio Grande care about our students’ safety just as much as we do.”
The Archon Alumni Association has had experience with installing sidewalks before and even funded the first sidewalk on campus along West College Avenue in 1957. Archon Member Leonard Longo, who took the lead on the project while acting as the organization’s president at the time, said he believes it is important for alumni to be active on campus and engaged with current students.
“Archon is very active in trying to help students on campus. When Chief Borden told us about the issue with traffic, we knew we wanted to be part of this project. Not only does it help keep students and other pedestrians safe, it connects all buildings across campus for easier access. It’s pleasing to know this contribution has been recognized for protecting our students,” Longo said. “The Archon fraternity began as a service organization, and we’ve continued our mission toward promoting Rio’s success over the years because we believe it’s important for alumni to be active and involved with campus.”
For more information about the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College Campus Police Department, visit http://www.rio.edu/campus-police/index.cfm or call 740-245-7286.