How We Can Help
A Pledge to Our Campus Community
William & Mary police officers have the same training and police authority, including powers of arrest, as do all other police officers in Virginia. Our police authority includes any property owned or controlled by the College including adjacent streets, sidewalks and highways. Our badge symbolizes our sincere commitment and strong dedication to the entire W&M community, including our amazing students.
The W&M Police want you to feel safe and be safe on our campus, and that means that victims of any crime, including sexual assault, feel comfortable in coming to us to report what happened. And remember: reporting a sexual assault to the Police Department does not mean that you have to pursue a criminal case. We put forward a commitment to our W&M community. If you are the victim of a sexual assault, members of the W&M Police Department pledge to take the following steps.
- Honor and affirm your right to be safe in your environment;
- Explain options and facilitate any hospital treatment or other medical needs, inform you of sexual assault medical protocols, and contact a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner who will await your arrival;
- Acknowledge your courage in coming forward and do so without judgment, shame, or blame;
- Meet with you privately, at a location of your choice, or at our Department to listen to your narrative and help with your immediate, individual needs;
- Treat you with dignity and respect in a professional, knowledgeable, and compassionate manner;
- Handle all types of sexual assaults (stranger, non-stranger, contact, penetration) with equal importance and attention;
- Recognize that you have suffered a trauma and talk with you in a manner consistent with a trauma-informed knowledge base;
- Respect your request to talk with an officer of specific sex or gender or request to meet with a specific officer [Note: if a requested officer is off-duty, we will attempt to locate the officer and ask the officer to return to campus, if possible.];
- Facilitate a report of sexual assault that occurred off-campus in another police jurisdiction; we will ask an officer from that jurisdiction to respond to campus, if possible, or provide transportation for you to that reporting location; and we will honor any request to accompany you while you are dealing with a different police agency;
- Uphold your request to have a friend, advocate, or other support person present.
- Assist you, should you desire counseling, advocacy, and reporting services, including Title IX, be they from W&M or from resources outside the campus community;
- Clarify College reporting and process options for responding to a complaint of sexual assault;
- Outline the options, processes, and applicable time-frames for possible criminal charges;
- Honor your request to investigate and request criminal charges through the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office; or honor your request to maintain relevant information and evidence within the Department until you make a decision whether or not you would like to pursue criminal charges.
- Remain available to you for support, answers to your questions, and any other emerging needs.
If we fail in our commitment to you, Deb Cheesebro, PhD, Chief of Police, will personally meet with you to address your concerns. Our commitment to you is genuine, and we thank you for the privilege of serving and protecting our Tribe, our family.