Recent criminal activities on and near campus has left an uneasy feeling in the Springfield College community. The Student took a look at SC’s Department of Public Safety this week to get a better understanding of those who protect campus.
There are essentially four different units on the campus that work together to provide a safe environment for students and faculty.
–17 full-time officers, including Chief Judy Jackson. Officers work 10-hour shifts on a four-days-on, three-days-off rotation. There are three different shifts that officers work, with at least two police officers on duty at all times on campus. All officers are trained through the Massachusetts State Police Training Facility. All officers are equipped with everything (chemical spray, nightstick, handcuffs and radio) except a firearm.
–Security Guards – Guards are assigned specifically to parking lots, which are covered by a guard 24 hours a day. The parking lot attendants issue tickets in parking lots. Campus Security Officers, or CSOs, assist the night parking lot guards by patrolling the campus. CSOs are responsible for building checks, locking buildings and residence hall checks.
–Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Unit – The EMS unit consists of students certified at the EMT level. EMS responds to calls on campus and assists officers at the scene. The EMS unit at Springfield College is unique for the New England area, according to Chief Jackson. The school is one of just two in New England that has an on-campus respite center, more commonly known as “the drunk tank.”
–Student Patrol – Student security guards assist police officers primarily during the night hours. They are equipped with a radio and act as “eyes and ears,” according to Jackson.
Along with these four different units, the college uses an ID card access system, a transportation unit (Pride Ride vans) and over 150 cameras around the campus.
Prior to the arrival of President Richard Flynn, there were no cameras on campus. His support for the Department of Public Safety has been essential, according to Jackson.
“President Flynn has always been a big supporter of ours and has always been interested in security,” said Jackson. “[The cameras] are a big expense, and he got the OK.”
Along with the additions on campus, the Department of Public Safety has cultivated and maintained a good relationship with the city of Springfield Police Department.
The college belongs to a network know as Western Mass Law Enforcement Council (WMLEC) that allows campus cruisers to report anything seen around the surrounding campus neighborhoods directly to the Springfield Police Department dispatchers.
Being part of something like WMLEC was very important in last Saturday’s incidents, asserted Jackson.
The Department of Public Safety is also currently in the process of arming its officers (SEE Story Page 1). The lack of space to house a sufficient armory is holding up the process.
Given the lack of space in the current location, the Department of Public Safety is considering relocating to a new area of campus. According to Jackson, the move will allow room for the armory and will also allow different units on campus to be centralized in one location.
Corey Hanlon may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org