UNC Charlotte's Initiatives to fight sex crimes - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

UNC Charlotte's Initiatives to fight sex crimes

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

UNC Charlotte's Police Chief Jeffrey Baker says his campus is ahead of most when it comes to fighting sex crimes.

He has about 50 officers in his department. He has a specialized unit that deals with sex crimes. Baker also says all of his officers have mandatory training each year to deal with sexual assaults.

UNCC campus police handled its first sexual assault of 2014. In about eight hours, the force identified, caught and arrested a suspect. They charged 21 year old Damien Pruitt with sexually assaulting a female student in her dorm room Friday morning. A student let Pruitt enter the dorm room, that's how he gained access.

Baker believes the training of his department helped solve the case quickly.

"You want to make sure your officers and your community understand that sex assault does occur on college campuses," Baker said. "And it shouldn't and we should do all we can to prevent it and stop it. And when it does occur make sure we make the best case and complete it with a very thorough investigation."

Baker says there are workshops and seminars that teach males students what it means to cross the line with female students.

"On conduct issues," Baker said. "And things of that nature that would be considered improper that could lead to sex assault."

Both male and female students are aware of the initiatives in place at UNC Charlotte. They believe they help. UNCC Freshman Caleb Roenigk says the campus does a good job alerting students about the classes

"They make it very public," Roenigk said. "At both orientation and throughout the year. Of course there are emails and reminders."

There are even classes for female students.

"How to avoid that kind of situation," UNCC Freshman Kaiti Stewart said. "So it's offered to girls to learn how to evade or how to protect themselves as well."

The Chief says he is always looking for ways to improve safety on the campus but he believes students are generally safe when they are in their dorm rooms.

"You have three levels of security," Baker said. "That protect a student and I would say that's tough to find that level of security anywhere."

No word yet if the student who allowed Pruitt in the dorm will be disciplined. 

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