From the series President's Awards for Excellence 2017

Outstanding Unit Award

Police Department Crime Prevention Unit

From left: Police Chief David Finnie, Sgt. Patrick Ammon, Sgt. Kurt Holden and Officer Nelda Mattison

The Wright State University Police Department Crime Prevention Unit received the 2017 Outstanding Unit Award for its devotion to student safety and ability to engage students through their content.

Officers in this unit reach out to students in Wright State’s Learning English for Academic and Professional Purposes (LEAP) Program, teaching self-defense classes, giving presentations on crime prevention and social issues such as religious discrimination and freedom of speech and granting videotaped interviews and pictures to students.

Jeanette Horowitz, LEAP Program director, and Karen Berry, an instructor in the LEAP Program, commended the Crime Prevention Unit on its ability to help international students feel safe on campus.

Over the years, Horowitz and Berry have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from LEAP students who have enjoyed meeting and talking with the Crime Prevention Unit police officers during class visits, workshops and other activities. Students praise the officers for being very helpful and informative and helping them to feel more secure when they are on campus.

“Sergeant Holden gave me a deep impression because I learned to protect myself. It makes me feel safe on campus when I can contact the police 24 hours a day,” said Cheng Bi, a student in the LEAP Program.

The unit’s work to raise awareness about personal safety and responsibility to prevent crimes has resulted in fewer opportunities for crime to occur. For example, the unit educates students on how to avoid theft by not leaving personal items unattended.

Two officers’ efforts have certainly not gone unnoticed, especially in the international community. Many LEAP students say they come to Wright State because of its reputation for being a safe place.

Officers go out of their way to help acclimate international students by showing they truly care about the students’ well-being.

Sgt. Kurt Holden particularly stands out. He has a fantastic rapport with the international students and fosters trusting relationships with them. While international students may have stereotypes of American officers, Holden and the Crime Prevention Unit quickly break them.

Holden commended the other officers on the unit. Sgt. Patrick Ammon has managed the unit for 13 years. Officer Nelda Mattison assists with talks, self-defense classes and represents the unit as the department’s K-9 handler. Tyler Pottkotter, the Lake Campus police officer, stays engaged and connected to the students, staff and faculty.

By reaching out and connecting with international students, officers in the Crime Prevention Unit help international students feel comfortable and have a sense of belonging at Wright State.

Wright State celebrates its 50th anniversary as an independent public university in 2017, culminating with a special Homecoming celebration Sept. 29 through Oct. 1.

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