Community Outreach and Support

COAST offers education and prevention services to keep campus safe.

COAST officers provide educational programming to give our students, faculty and staff the tools they need to keep themselves and others safe. Through the Response, Evaluation and Crisis Help (REACH) initiative, COAST social workers co-respond with officers in mental health emergencies, and the REACH team acts as a wraparound service to connect students with established mental health services and ensure they do not slip through the cracks. The COAST therapy K9 teams are one of many ways that our officers extend a supportive hand to our campus community.

Safety presentations

Officers are available to visit your student group, organization, office or may fit into your existing programming to provide campus safety and crime prevention talks and presentations. The University of Illinois Police Department has experts in a number of areas, including alcohol safety and awareness, emergency preparedness, active threat response, or general campus safety.

I-PAWS Therapy K9s

I-PAWS (Providing Assistance With Support) therapy dogs are available as a community resource, and the program is one of the many outreach initiatives that COAST provides. Lollipop, Archie, Rosie, Kirby and their handlers are available to comfort our students, faculty and staff in times of crisis, or to help students reduce their stress and anxiety during the school year. Therapy K9s are also a great way to prompt good conversations between UIPD officers and community members, helping us to build more relationships with the people we serve.

The University of Illinois Police Department was among a very small number of departments in Illinois to offer therapy K9s when the I-PAWS program came online in 2020. Since then, the popularity of police therapy K9s has increased throughout the state and country.

Community Police Academy

UIPD’s Community Police Academy provides a behind-the-scenes experience to learn about police operations, investigations, crime prevention, and specialized units. It is an opportunity for you to participate in hands-on learning, demonstrations, and presentations from current police officers.

The Community Police Academy is typically offered once per semester. It’s a free four-week course involving one three-hour class per week, and it takes place on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. It is free of charge and open to everyone.

Response, Evaluation and Crisis Help

REACH is a collaborative team which brings together police officers and mental-health professionals to meet the needs of community members who are experiencing crises. In mental health emergencies, police departments historically have been tasked with making sure that the community member in crisis does not hurt themselves or someone else. The University of Illinois Police Department seeks to take an innovative approach to this challenge. When we receive an emergency call, we send crisis responders (when available) who have a background in social work with police officers. Through this co-responder model, the REACH team can better evaluate and assess the needs of an individual in crisis and make supportive treatment and referral decisions in the moment.

Request a program

If you would like to have an officer or therapy K9 meet with your group, please make this request at least three weeks in advance of the scheduled program.

Though we work to accommodate all requests, we are sometimes limited in our schedule (and the dogs need some down time too). Once we receive the request, someone from COAST will be contacting you to confirm the details.

For therapy K9 requests, we typically prioritize events that have a higher number of attendees or include some kind of safety education component, but we can work with you to meet your needs.