UArizona announces new mobile crisis team, University Safety website

Old Main at the University of Arizona

University of Arizona President Robert C. Robins announced the university's new mobile crisis team during a virtual University Safety Briefing on Friday. The team, staffed by Counseling and Psych Services, will work to deescalate tense situations and provide mental health services.

University of Arizona

A new mobile crisis team, with the goal of deescalating tense situations and providing mental health services, is in development at the University of Arizona, President Robert C. Robbins said at a virtual University Safety Briefing on Friday.  

"We know that individuals on campus in a crisis often have UAPD as the only option to call but may be better served by a counselor. This mobile crisis team will meet that need," said Robbins, who was joined at the briefing by Steve Patterson, UArizona interim chief safety officer, and 17th U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, Laureate Professor of Public Health.

The new team, which will be staffed by the university's Counseling and Psych Services, is just one of several safety changes announced by Robbins. In addition, the university will expand its keyless building entry program and conduct campuswide safety exercises such as fire and gas leak drills. The university has also launched a new University Safety website that includes in one central location actions plans, the university's latest campus security updates and resources for students and employees.

Robbins and Patterson also discussed the university's decision to hire Chris Olson as interim chief of the University of Arizona Police Department. A 31-year law enforcement veteran who previously worked for UAPD, Olson is the commander of the Oro Valley Police Department's Field Services Division.   

Patterson said Olson's first duties will include examining the university safety report released by the independent PAX Group in March and specifically the police department's process of handling exclusionary orders that prevent specific individuals from entering university property. The university will examine and revise its hiring criteria for a permanent police chief over the summer before launching a national search. Robbins said he expects the search to take six to nine months.  

Students returning to campus in the fall will see emergency awareness posters in each classroom that display building names and addresses, the locations of automated external defibrillators in the building, evacuation routes, UAPD contact information and general advice for active shooter situations and other potential public safety risks.

Patterson said UAPD's community engagement team is conducting active shooter and emergency awareness training throughout campus. He also suggested that any member of the university community with questions about campus safety contact the Threat Assessment and Management Team and review a talk given on campus earlier this year by Gene Deisinger, president of Deisinger Consulting, who discussed threat assessment and campus safety.

"We have to get back to the fundamentals of trusting each other and working together. There are many opportunities for improvement to make our campus safer," Robbins said. "We're well on our way to implementing those things, but there's a lot of work to do. And no one group or one person can do all of that."

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