University President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick brought together Catholic University leadership, law enforcement, and Brookland community members for the first University-wide safety walk to identify and discuss increased safety and security measures on the campus perimeter July 25.
The walking tour began in front of Father O’Connell Hall in the plaza where Maxwell Emerson was tragically killed on July 5. In attendance were about 50 representatives from various University divisions and departments, the Student Government Association, local businesses, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Metro Transit Police (MTP), and the Washington, D.C., city council. Several media local outlets were also present.
Following an opening prayer led by University chaplain Rev. Bernard Knapke, O.P., Dr. Kilpatrick thanked the community for coming together to strategize about public safety solutions.
“We really want this to be a community event,” Dr. Kilpatrick told those assembled. “We all have the responsibility to keep our community safe. My hope is that this is just the beginning of us all coming together — reclaiming this community, these streets — for us, not for the people that want to come and do us harm.”
The safety walk included several stops along Monroe Street, near the Brookland/CUA Metro station, along John McCormack Road, and as far as the Raymond A. DuFour Athletic Center, assessing the areas for overgrown brush, ample lighting, emergency call boxes, functioning security cameras, and a police presence. Participants were able to see firsthand what students’ experience when they walk around campus — and off campus — everyday and looked at areas that could benefit from increased security measures.
The commanders of MPD’s fourth and fifth districts, who participated in the safety walk, stated their commitment to increase patrols, police presence, and lighting around the University perimeter on Monroe and Seventh streets and John McCormack Road. This will include a light tower on John McCormack near the Metro station.
Carlos Heraud, commander of the fourth district, said communication has been key in building a relationship between the University and MPD.
“President Kilpatrick reached out to us months ago … we had the discussions, we built the relationships and that communication continues today,” Heraud said. “Whatever way we can support Catholic University, we’re absolutely here to do it.”
Representatives from MPD accepted an invitation from the University to attend first-year student Orientation sessions where they will instruct students on appropriate safety measures to be taken on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Dr. Kilpatrick said crime will only stop when the entire community joins forces to build a safe neighborhood.
“We’re all in this together,” he said. “The most important thing that happens today is that people feel a greater sense of togetherness; that people feel safety. … This is just our first (safety walk) but I suspect there will be more. We won’t be quiet about this.”
The President has committed to continuing conversations and actions involving campus safety. The University’s Safety and Security Initiatives Dashboard posts weekly updates to keep the University community informed.
Leaders from Catholic University, D.C. law enforcement, and the local community walk down John McCormack Road during a safety and security assessment of the campus perimeter July 25. (Catholic University/Matt Palmer)
University President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick addresses University and local community leaders before a safety walk around the campus perimeter July 25. (Catholic University/Matt Palmer)
Larry Morris, chief of staff and counselor to the President, leads University and local community members down John McCormack Road during a safety and security assessment of the campus perimeter July 25. (Catholic University/Matt Palmer)