When one thinks of the police they think of officers in uniform knocking on their doors when they are too loud or patrolling the streets. The Department of Public Safety has been doing all of that and has started a new program to get themselves involved with students in a more friendly way. The program lead by Lieutenant Bernie St. George goes by many names: Coffee With The Cops, Coco With The “PoPo,” and so on.
In essence, the whole program is a means for the students here on campus to get acquainted with the campus security/police in a friendlier and more relaxed environment. Sodexo is generous enough to supply the officers with coffee, hot chocolate, and donuts, which the officers then bring to common areas in residence halls. Officers and students then sit around and talk as a way to get to know one another. In addition to fostering the student-officer relationshipthe program offers a place for students to relax after classes and daily activities.
“[The program is] a way for us as a department to get our and meet with the students in a positive, productive, and non-confrontational way,” Lt. St. George said.
“It is an opportunity for us to meet the students and for them to meet us… it’s to create a dialogue and create trust,” Lt. St. George continued.
Public safety has been doing this program sincethe fall and so far it seems to be a success for everyone involved. Students get a place to relax, and officers get a chance to connect with the campus community more intimately. This program is the first of its kind on our campus.
This past year, the department has made many changes and expanded upon the already-existing services they provide to students by increasing shuttle times and trips to Lansdowne Place.
Some may have noticed that more and more members of the department are becoming increasingly visible on campus, whether they are seen patrolling hallways or simply walking around academic buildings. The visibility hasbeen a new measure put forth by Chief Tony Casciano to get more personal with students during class times, to provide better security, and so students can see friendly faces that they meet at the Coffee With The Cops event.
One of the other programs that have been implemented is the Adopt-A-Hall Program. The program entails each hall having a specific officer for the building. That officer is meant to go to RA events and work with the students and staff.
Over in Lammers Hall, Officer Hannaford went to an RA event to show support while off duty. The primary goal is to work with the Hall Council as an outreach to get to know the staff and students in the building.
The shuttles that can be seen driving around the campus are all operated by Public Safety personnel and the hours of operation have been expanded to nearly a twenty-four seven operation.
As it currently stands, shuttle services on campus are running longer here than any ofour sister institutions. The hours of operation for such shuttles start at around 6:00 a.m. and run to about 2:00 a.m. If there is ever a time someone on campus needs a ride, Public Safety will provide one so long as there is no pressing matter (i.e. an investigation).
Most of the new programs have been promoted due to the Chief’s community-based policing policy that he has taken since assuming his position.
People like Lt. St. George also have professional development experience and prestige. The Lieutenant, who has been here since 2011 but has nearly 20 years total in the field, has recently won the Sean Collier Award for innovation in community-oriented policing.
The award is for community policing and programing that improves relationships between the police and the community.
Public Safety will still be doing the Civilian Response to Active Shooter in the upcoming weeks and would like everyone to know that no disruption in service will occur while the Public Safety building gets renovated. Officers will be moving while dispatch will be staying where they are.