VUPD opens new communications command center

Communications Officer Mary Whittington in the newly renovated VUPD communications office (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt University Police Department has opened a new communications command center, which for the first time offers the Vanderbilt community emergency walk-up service at all hours.

“At the other building (2800 Vanderbilt Place), you had to make a call and wait, and I don’t like people having to wait on the police,” Assistant Vice Chancellor and Chief of Police for VUPD August Washington said. “Now people can come 24-7 and be greeted by a person.”

The command center is located in a fully renovated space at VUPD’s headquarters at 111 28th Ave. S., just off West End Avenue. The sleek build-out incorporates ergonomic work stations for dispatchers and a wall of TVs tuned in to local weather conditions, breaking world news, local 911 alarms and live security feeds.

A communications officer is on hand day or night to assist individuals at VUPD's new communications command center at VUPD headquarters. (Vanderbilt University)

“This is all upgraded technology,” Washington said. “It helps us respond more quickly and effectively when we are called upon.”

The ergonomic work stations, complete with large screen computer monitors, feature adjustable seating and personalized heating and cooling to suit the officer on duty.

“Because we have up to four different dispatchers at one time taking shifts in this room, we needed everything to be customizable,” said Washington. “It helps make their jobs a little bit more comfortable.”

Marty Wright, manager, communications and information technology, supervises the command center, which is constantly abuzz with activity. “We get a wide range of calls – so every day we have to be prepared for something completely different,” he said. “There’s no fence around Vanderbilt.”

An adjoining reception window and lobby area painted in contemporary colors provides a comfortable place for people in need of immediate assistance or those who need to file a report.

“All of these changes help us provide a more personal level of service,” Washington said.

The Command Center serves the academic campus and its students, the Medical Center and Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks. The facility also is equipped with a spacious new file room in order to accommodate the volume of paperwork that flows through VUPD’s system.

“This is a great move for the convenience of all those we serve,” Washington said. “It’s just one of the ways Vanderbilt Police Department is continuing to improve the services we provide Vanderbilt community.”