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UMW, local officials continue campus safety dialogue

UMW News Bureau

University of Montana Western and area health and safety officials met recently in an ongoing effort to ensure safety and security for the 1,400-student campus.

Montana Western Chancellor Richard Storey said the group meets on a regular basis to review emergency preparedness planning, discuss national and local health and safety issues and share information.

“As a university we are very fortunate to have such a close relationship with local law enforcement and first responder agencies,” Storey said. “The safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is of the upmost importance to us.”

The group discussed ongoing preparedness planning, campus access for emergency vehicles and health issues including the flu epidemic that is effecting states across the country.

Montana Western Dean of Students Nicole Hazelbaker reported on a recent Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conference she and Dillon Police Chief Paul Craft attended in which the preparedness and cooperative efforts of the university and community were lauded by federal and state officials.

Participants included Craft; Jay Hansen, Beaverhead County sheriff; Mike McGinley, Dillon Volunteer Fire Department chief; Sue Hansen, director of Beaverhead County Public Health; David Marx, director of Disaster and Emergency Services (DES); as well as the university’s senior staff and facilities administrators.

Montana Western is unique in that it relies on local police and fire departments, as well as emergency planning and public health services. Many other colleges and universities maintain a campus police force. Storey said the close cooperation between local police and sheriff departments is exceptional and helps ensure that the students, faculty and staff at Montana Western receive the best in professional services.