App State Police Department awarded NC Law Enforcement Agency of the Year, gains recognition

Anna Dollar, News Reporter

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The App State Police Department was named North Carolina Law Enforcement Agency of the Year by the North Carolina Police Executives Association in July, a title the police department will have for the next year. 

“This is an inaugural award,” said Andy Stephenson, director of public safety and chief of police of the University Police Department. “We were nominated along with several other departments, and they chose us.”

The criteria for this recognition include innovation, engagement, collaboration and positive impact on policing in North Carolina, Stephenson said. 

“I thought that it was good publicity for our department,” Stephenson said. 

Stephenson said this recognition highlighted the Appalachian Police Academy, a two year program where students can get an “advantage in criminal justice system careers.”

Stephenson said he has heard of students coming to App State mainly because of the police academy. 

“Last year, it was the police academy, this year, it’s the award,” Forte said. “I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”

Stephenson credited his department’s success to support from Paul Forte, vice chancellor of business affairs.

Forte said he supports the university police because of the way they “constantly want to improve,” so Forte, through his position, helps them out financially the best he can.

“We don’t have enough money to fund everything they do as fast as they need to do it,” Forte said. “But, we have a long range plan of those that have the best bang for their buck.”

Money goes toward safety equipment, like walkie-talkies and dispatch systems.