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Redbird AWARE, ISU’s new personal safety program

Written by on April 4, 2023

Photo provided by Illinois State University

NORMAL, Ill. – The Illinois State University Police Department has introduced a new educational program called Redbird AWARE that focuses on the safety of all individuals.

Redbird AWARE is a two hour long course that welcomes the students and staff of Illinois State University and the Bloomington-Normal public to learn about their safety by learning how to reduce their exposure to violent situations.

This course was created by the ISU PD for all individuals. Police Chief of ISU PD, Aaron Woodruff, spoke on how in the past the ISU Police Department struggled with finding the personnel available to teach similar courses.

“The original program used on campus was RAD (Rape, Aggression, and Defense), then we introduced SAFE (Scaled, Agile, Framework), both focusing on personal safety,” said Chief Woodruff. “The issue was both programs were national programs and our officers had to be certified to teach these courses.”

Woodruff explained that many of the previous courses focused on women and their safety. Still, ISU PD believes in “inclusivity, and that being the challenge with many national programs, only focusing on women and not all people, safety is important for all.”

Over the past several years, ISU has heard from its LGTBQIA+ community about its safety on campus. Chief Woodruff feels that this new program is more welcoming to all individuals due to its inclusivity.

“Personal safety is something that should be embraced and discussed more within our community, regardless of what someone identifies as,” said Chief Woodruff.

Redbird AWARE hosted its first public session on March 30, with many more sessions to come as they implement the program into ISU’s community. Chief Woodruff elaborated on the programs availability towards not just individuals but large groups as well.

“We want students to know that they can ask for a special request to do a Redbird AWARE program with their Fraternity, Sorority and RSOs,” said Chief Woodruff.