Officer Tanesha Van Leuven hugs Elroy Carlson, a man she helped save last year after he collapsed outside of Alder Hall. Leuven was one of three reciepients of the lifesaver award at the UWPD open house.
Officer Tanesha Van Leuven hugs Elroy Carlson, a man she helped save last year after he collapsed outside of Alder Hall. Leuven was one of three reciepients of the lifesaver award at the UWPD open house.Photo by Joshua Bessex
The UW Police Department (UWPD) opened their doors to the UW community Wednesday for its annual open house and awards ceremony, held at Bryants Building on Boat Street Northeast.
Eric Godfrey, vice president and vice provost of Student Life, received UWPD’s special recognition and the first ever Chief’s Award of Excellence at the open house. Officers and community partners also received various awards for their service both to the UWPD and to citizens. During the event, the UW public got the chance to know more about the faces behind the UWPD patrol cars.
Godfrey, who announced his retirement fall 2012, received the award because of his role in reorganizing the UWPD in September 2007. UWPD Chief John Vinson said Godfrey motivated the police department to be integrated to the campus community.
“[He is] why we’re here today,” Vinson said. “He stated: ‘We have a great university, I want a great police department.’”
According to Vinson, the Chief’s Award of Excellence will be given to individuals who exemplify excellence both to the UWPD and the community, just as Godfrey has.
Godfrey said one of the highlights of his career was working with the UWPD.
“We have come a long way … [the UWPD] has a renewed sense of professionalism,” Godfrey said. “[They] are much more visible on campus, and deeply appreciated all across the campus.”
Awards were also given to individuals who managed to save Elroy Carlson, 60, a Seattle resident who experienced a heart attack in January near Northeast 40th Street and the Ave. The individuals — Seattle Police Department (SPD) parking enforcement officer Clovis Batiot, UWPD Officer Tanesha Van Leuven, and UW medical student Michelle Ju — performed CPR and conducted diagnoses for heart attack with an automated external defibrillator (AED).
Carlson said he is very fortunate that the three individuals were close by and they were trained to respond quickly, and that they did their job.
“I’m very glad to be here, literally,” Carlson said. “I’m very fortunate … I’m happy that they did their job, and of course saved my life.”
In addition to award ceremonies, the event also promoted crime prevention resources and community partners such as SafeCampus and the UW Green Dot. Various officers conducted demonstrations of their K-9 bomb dog unit, coordinated the beer goggle obstacle course, and led department tours. Presentation topics include the role of the dispatcher, police officer training, and Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) demonstration. These events aimed to bring light to the experiences of the officers as well as the officers themselves.
“This is a really great event, and I think it’s important that there be events like this to recognize the hard work that police officers do,” Carlson said.
Junior Charity Gage recently transferred to the UW, and came to the open house to get to know more about campus police. She said sometimes members of the campus community have negative outlooks of police officers.
“People [think] that police will just kind of butt into their business at school, but that’s not the case, they’re humans as well,” Gage said.
Reach reporter Imana Gunawan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @imanafg
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