“Part of the Fabric”: Campus Public Safety in Higher Education

“Part of the Fabric”: Campus Public Safety in Higher Education


John Scully: Campus public safety is quite different
because it’s a little bit more intimate. It’s a community, that’s how I like to
look at it. The people that are there, whether they’re students, faculty and
staff, I look at them somewhat as a family as opposed to what you would find
anywhere else, whether it’s in law enforcement or a mall where people are
just a transient population coming in and out. So they’re there every day, all
the time, day and night so interaction with them is quite frequent which is much
different than public safety in other types of venues. Maureen Rush: It’s a much more intimate
style of public safety and policing because you really do, you live with
this community, you live with this community and if something happens to
one of them, you don’t just handle it and then I’ll see you in court.
You’re there and you’re doing everything in between. And we have an opportunity to really make a big impact and a difference to allow, you know, very, very
talented, smart students to go out and make a difference in the world. Paul Cell: When we look at any profession that we have or any community we look at, it’s like
one big pie and campus public safety is a piece of that pie and although there
are mundane chores we all have to do in each of our pieces, if they’re not done,
the pie is not complete. So we’re looking at completing and having a fully
functional community it’s important that you realize that even those mundane
things, whether it’s report writing or whether it’s standing a post for eight
hours, it’s all part of completing that pie in creating a safer environment. Alison Kiss: The role of people who are on the front line – who are responding to crime, who are
patrolling campus environments – is so important. There are some things that you
have to do from writing reports to talking to students to entering data
when you get in at the end of your shift and those pieces are all so important
and just fit so well together to build the fabric of a safe community. Michael Hill: You know we’re teachers outside the classroom. Students are going
to learn as much outside the classroom as they do inside and part of our job is
to help them become well-rounded individuals. I had a situation not too
long ago where I walked past a young man and he just had a look on him so I said, “How you doing?” and he actually said, “Not so good.” That’s
not the normal response I get. Most of the time people just keep on moving. Well,
with that young man he hadn’t eaten for a day or so because he’s got exams so I
took – and it’s raining and he’s walking without an umbrella and I’m thinking
come on, let’s go in here, let’s talk for a few minutes, tell me what’s your name. I bring an officer in. I said, “Take this young man over to a snack bar and get him something to eat.” That
kind of engagement – one, I think it’s priceless and two, he needed it so whatever we can do as public safety professionals to
engage our community and help them and again that wasn’t a crime, there was
nothing bad that happened except he’s stressed out, hungry, and wet, so how do I
help? And that’s what we do. If you don’t want to help folks, this is not the right
profession for you. If you like helping people, engaging with them, then public
safety is a great place and particularly on a college campus or university campus. Karen Pennington: I do what I do because I realize that every day I have a chance to make a
difference in somebody’s life. I’m not making widgets – the same widget that
comes out every day. Every interaction I have, I have the ability to be a change
in somebody’s life for good. I have the chance to teach them
something. I have the chance to help them grow and develop and become the kind of
person they want to be in the future. It’s a pretty powerful tool; it’s a
pretty powerful responsibility and I think all of us on a college campus have
that responsibility because we’ve got people who are learning, people who are
growing, people who are being molded at this point in time and so the
responsibility that we have to do this work is valuable and it’s important and
it’s something we should be very proud of.

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