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University police adds Community Care Program to campus services

By Julia Duvall

Western Carolina University’s Police Department has joined the Sylva and Boone police departments to become the third to offer the Community Care Program in Western North Carolina.

The Community Care Program places a student intern from WCU’s master of social work program with WCU’s Police Department to serve as a liaison between students and campus police.

“The role of the liaison is to reach out to these students and connect them to campus and community resources,” said Katy Allen, professor in WCU’s social work program. “When an officer identifies an individual they determine can use the services offered by the program, they submit a referral to the liaison.”

The program is now in its second year and was created in October 2021 by Cyndy Caravelis, professor in WCU’s criminology and criminal justice department, and Allen.

lara hartley

Lara Hartley

The liaison for WCU’s police department is Lara Hartley from Wilmington.

“I have received an immense amount of support since participating in this program. My experience so far has been full of information and meetings to collaborate with resources around campus and inform them on the work the Community Care Program hopes to fulfill,” Hartley said.

The benefits of the liaison are not only felt by students, but by the officers as well.

“I am so grateful to be a part of this program and am eager to learn how the campus strives to better the lives of students who call WCU their home,” Hartley said. “I hope this program will make an impact on the campus community by developing more trust with law enforcement, reduce the risk of trauma, and promote de-escalation and pre-crisis intervention.”

For more information about the program, contact Allen at

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