Shakeups with Virginia Tech public safety aim to make students safer

New division created to oversee public safety organizations

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Recent changes at Virginia Tech are restructuring public safety to keep students safe.

After five years serving as Virginia Tech's top cop, Kevin Foust is moving on, but he didn’t go far.

"This is the first time in 36 years I haven't had a badge or a weapon," said Foust, Virginia Tech’s new Associate Vice President for Safety and Security.

Foust is still deeply involved at Virginia Tech, now heading up a newly created division focused on safety. The man filling his shoes is his former number two, Mac Babb.

"It's a special relationship amongst all the partners here," Babb said.

The partnerships are getting stronger. Public safety changes are now bringing the police department, emergency management, environmental health and safety and the rescue squad all under the same organization.

"That we be seen more as a resource than, I use the term keepers of the boundaries," Babb said.

They're forging stronger partnerships with organizations across campus and Blacksburg to address big issues like mental health, sexual assault and alcohol and drug use.

"While they are kind of exploring new parts of their life there are some really serious dangers in some of the areas they pursue," Babb said.

"We have things we can bring to the table, our colleagues have things they can bring to the table and as long as we're all sitting down and bringing all of our best tools to the table, we're going to be able to look out for our community even better," Foust said.

These public safety changes now also mean it will be easier for the police department to get needed equipment and hire officers more quickly, as the university continues growing.

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