By Patricia Sierra Barrios
President Ferrier and San Antonio Police Chief William McManus will host a 2011 National Night Out Awards Ceremony 2 p.m. Saturday on Main Campus in partnership with the San Antonio Police Department. The ceremony recognizes the local and national effort to promote neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships to curtail crime and drug use.
National Night Out 2011 was held throughout the City of San Antonio on Oct 4.
Encouraged by the City of San Antonio and local neighborhood organizations, all ten city council districts competed for the National Night Out awards . In 2010, the City of San Antonio won first place at the national level in category 1, reserved for cities with a population greater than 300,000.
This year’s entries were judged by the The Greater San Antonio Crime Prevention Commission and judged on presentation, originality and content of the 2011 theme.
Students in the criminology program in the School of Arts & Sciences played a key role in determining category awards across ten city council district. According to the City of San Antonio’s National Night Out competition packet, categories include:
Category 1: Neighborhood (Neighborhood Associations, Neighborhood groups, individual block parties ; Category 2: Apartments (Apartment complex, Townhomes,Condominiums) and Category 3: Other (Community Groups, Museums, Businesses and Schools).
Criminology Professor Dr. Durant Frantzen said there were 36 awards in all. The 10 city council districts each had a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place award representing the neighborhoods in each respective district. Category 2 awards for apartments had 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, and category 3 for community centers, churches and similar organizations had 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. Honorable mention awards were also given.
Approximately 30 criminology students helped develop the survey instrument and analyze the data in addition to performing the judging.
Frantzen said the projects were brought to campus by SAPD for the students to judge. “We collaborated with SAPD who facilitates the judging each year,” Frantzen said via email. “I believe San Antonio placed 3rd in the nation for NNO awards overall.”
A spokesperson for University Communications said the campus’ award ceremony will include a Blue Santa arriving by the Blue Eagle Helicopter and other helicopter drops, SAPD Mobile Crime Scene Van and a K-9 Unit. Several mascots will be in attendance including McGruff the Crime Dog, Blue Bear the Anti-Drug, the NNO Knight and the Texas A&M-San Antonio Jaguar.
Damon Shodrock, director of safety, risk and emergency management, said the helicopters are from San Antonio Police Department, Air Life and Rescue and the Texas Department of Public Safety. The helicopters will practice safety evacuations at Main Campus Building as part of the National Night Out awards ceremony.
“On campus we’ve never had the need to perform an air life activation so this will be a good opportunity to test those procedures,” Shodrock said. Helicopters will land and take off in 10 to 15 minute intervals.
The San Antonio Fire Department will use two-way radios on a dedicated frequency to talk to the pilots as they land and depart. The emergency teams will test procedures in the event of an accident on the nearby interstate. The hospital destination would be determined on the nature of the injuries sustained by potential accident victims.
The safety awareness drills are part of an ongoing effort at A&M-San Antonio’s widely dispersed campus locations to test safety and management procedures and included a series of bomb threat assessments and drills which were completed Dec. 9, Shodrock said.
Also, a fire drill was held Dec. 8 at Gillette Campus, 1450 Gillette Blvd. The facility has been mostly unoccupied since the August move to Main Campus, but now houses departments from the division of finance and administration staff, including human resources, payroll, and accounting and procurement.
In addition to ensuring that staff members hear the alarm and are familiar with evacuation procedures, staff practiced a wheelchair evacuation from the second story of the administration building.
A listing of San Antonio’s National Night Award winners will be made available Dec. 10.