Emanuel declares Northwestern’s Center for Public Safety Day on Sunday

Stephanie Haines

Northwestern University Center for Public Safety, a worldwide traffic safety and police management institute, celebrated its 75th anniversary Sunday.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel named Oct. 23 as “NUCPS Day” in recognition of the Center’s contributions in Chicago, which include training more than 50,000 law enforcement and traffic safety professionals, educating 2.5 million Chicago and Cook County residents in driver’s safety and providing leadership worldwide. It also helps train members of the Evanston Police Department.

“We are honored to receive the mayor’s reward,” NUCPS Executive Director David Bradford said.”It certainly means a lot to be recognized in our home city.”

NUCPS was founded in 1936 by Franklin Kreml, a NU student and police officer, who wanted to change the high traffic fatality rates in Evanston. Originally called the Evanston Traffic Officers Training School, it offered a one-academic-year-long training program in crash investigation. Within a year, the traffic fatality rate in Evanston decreased by 90 percent. A NU psychology professor noticed this and worked to offer a traffic institute at NU through Kreml’s program, said Roy Lucke, director of transportationsafety programs and resident historian for NUCPS.

“Our founding is to make Evanston safe, literally,” Lucke said.

Now, NUCPS is a worldwide institution that teaches courses in crash investigation, transportation engineering, police operations and law enforcement administration and management. Educational programs and research are conducted in Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and South America.

“We are helping countries straight out of monarchies that never had a modern police department,” Lucke said.

Currently, NUCPS is creating an online training program as a less expensive option for prospective law enforcement students.

The banquet was held at Chicago’s Harold Washington Library Center. Those attending the banquet included NUCPS faculty, students and staff from both the United States and the international community.

NUCPS offers courses for credit in the Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies. Though it offers no undergraduate courses, NUCPS has worked with McCormick and SESP students and faculty for safety and transportation research. Bradford and Lucke said not many NU students are drawn to the NUCPS training programs, though graduate students take a few courses offered at the school.

“We are part of NU,” Bradford said. “And we are proud of that.”

Bradford said NUCPS wants to include more NU undergraduates in its courses. Though NU does not offer a criminal justice program, Bradford said he is working with SESP professors to develop a curriculum for a masters’ degree in public policy, which would include some NUCPS courses.

[email protected]