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Webinar
3/20/2017 12:00 AM
The National Center for Campus Public Safety is offering a webinar sponsored by Campus Security Report:

What: Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)
When: Friday: April 21, 2017, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. EDT
How to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/designing-safety-on-higher-ed-campuses-a-cpted-primer-registration-32961632129
The National Center for Campus Public Safety is offering a webinar sponsored by Campus Security Report:

What: Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)
When: Friday, April 21, 2017, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. EDT
How to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/designing-safety-on-higher-ed-campuses-a-cpted-primer-registration-32961632129

Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) is an approach to deterring crime through environmental design and creating a safer physical and built environment. This includes buildings, roads, parking lots, lighting, access control, maintenance, windows, entrances, signage, landscaping, sidewalks, and more. In the modern world, deterring crime and countering violent extremism requires a comprehensive approach. CPTED is about designing for safety and acts as a "force multiplier." The presenters will explore simple strategies and examples to make campuses safer and more secure while considering budget.

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Residence Halls
10/19/2016 12:00 AM
Living in residence halls presents opportunities for students to engage with the campus and take part in learning opportunities outside the classroom. But residence halls also present safety challenges. “This is the most critical area we want to keep safe,” said Rhonda L. Harris, assistant vice president of public safety and chief of police at Old Dominion University in Virginia.

Living in residence halls presents opportunities for students to engage with the campus and take part in learning opportunities outside the classroom. But residence halls also present safety challenges. “This is the most critical area we want to keep safe,” said Rhonda L. Harris, assistant vice president of public safety and chief of police at Old Dominion University in Virginia.

The number of burglaries in residence halls at ODU has dropped by nearly 67 percent since 2012, when Harris became police chief. And burglaries are just one of many crimes that can occur in residential areas. Harris has led a multitiered approach to residence hall safety that includes security measures, policies, and education.

  • Security measures. Residence hall access is controlled by swipe cards. Plus, ODU has added staff in the lobby of each hall. Many of those staff members are students, including resident assistants. They provide a visual deterrence to individuals who shouldn't be in the building and speak to people who look like they don't belong there, Harris said. They also remind students of the policies regarding bringing guests into the building.After hours, guests must sign in as they enter.The residence hall windows have security screens to prevent anyone from going in through a window, Harris said. If a screen were removed, it would be evident to security patrols, and a maintenance call would be required to put it back in, Harris said.If there's reason to believe that someone gained unauthorized access to a residence hall, security officers can review video footage to find out what the person looked like and which way they went. The cameras aren't monitored in real time, but the video is stored and can be easily accessed when needed, Harris said. Two major changes Harris has made since 2012 are changing the locking mechanisms on individual rooms or apartments and increasing security patrols in the evening. The door to each residential unit now locks automatically when it is closed, Harris said. A common scenario for theft is that a student has a visitor who brings a friend. The friend gets bored and starts shaking doorknobs. With the changed locking mechanisms, that strategy doesn't result in entry, Harris said. The increased security patrols around the residence halls in the evenings mean that officers can spot situations before problems occur. If they see people congregating outside a residence hall, they make contact with those people and encourage those who don't need to enter the building to move along.
  • Policies. Visitation policies help control who is in the residence halls and when they can be there. Students who wish to have overnight guests must make arrangements in advance with the residence hall staff. Exceptions can be made in case of emergency, or if a guest, say a younger sibling, arrives by surprise, Harris said. But in most cases, if the proper arrangements have not been made, guests are encouraged to find other places to sleep, Harris said. The goal to having some flexibility is to keep the bad people out, but to support a good quality of life for the students living in the residence hall, she said.Guests in the building after a certain time must be signed in.And policies limit the number of guests that can be present in a room, apartment, or bedroom in an apartment.
  • Education. “The university has done a great job of creating a community environment so people feel responsibility for other people,” Harris said. The focus is on helping students make smart decisions about safety.

Education about campus safety starts with the campus tour, she said. Once students are admitted, they can attend a preview program where they hear about safety from the campus police, and students who plan to live in residence halls also hear about it from the residence hall staff.

Harris meets with the director of housing and residence life every month. Some of Harris' staff members meet regularly with other members of that department. Police officers train resident assistants at the beginning of each academic year. They cover everything from building access to the Clery Act to active shooter response, Harris said.

The residence hall staff members conduct ongoing training with the students. Harris also partners with student government to provide safety training.

Engage community with a safety app

“Safety is everyone's responsibility,” Harris said. That's a key message of education efforts at the university, she said. Helping young people understand their role in creating a safe campus is a difficult but important task, she added.

The campus adopted the LiveSafe app that enables students to text tips to the police department. They can be anonymous if they wish, she said. The app has been really helpful, Harris said. Students love it and feel comfortable using it, she added. For example, a student might text “There are a couple of guys hanging by this door.” The text goes straight to dispatch and to all the command staff in Harris' unit.

Harris was a little hesitant to implement the app because it was a big investment and she didn't know how students would respond to it. But it has been very effective, she said.

Ensure residence hall safety by preventing ‘tailgating’

Controlling access to your campus buildings is an important part of campus safety. And that is especially true when it comes to residence halls. Unauthorized people gaining access to a building can create liability issues for your institution when thefts or criminal mischief occur, said Dan Pascale, vice president and partner at Margolis Healy. But controlled access is most important for residence halls because domestic violence and assault are most likely to occur in these buildings that students call home.

Preventing “tailgating” is an important step to keeping residence halls safe. Tailgating occurs when multiple people enter a building using one identification card or other form of access. For example, one student might swipe in and then pass the card back to others. Or students might toss their card out the window to a guest. Some systems keep the same card from being used repeatedly during a set time frame, Pascale said. And some institutions have started using biometrics to control access.

A combination of methods for controlling access works best, Pascale said. For example, security measures might include a single point of entry with electronic access, a physical presence to determine that all members of a group entering together should be in the building, and an optical turnstile.

There's no one-size-fits-all solution to residence hall security, but the most effective access control systems for residence halls include the following elements, according to Pascale:

  • Redundancy in security measures, including technology and personnel. During busy times, technology can fail, and individuals tasked with controlling access can make mistakes. The institutions Pascale has observed having difficulties with residence hall access “put all their eggs in one basket,” relying on one measure to control access.
  • Enforcement of policies. Students need to know the institution takes residence hall security seriously.
  • Education about safety. Among other measures, posters visible just inside the entrance should remind students of the policy for residence hall access.

Some security measures can be expensive. The key is to find a balance that enables reasonable spending for the most effective combination of measures, Pascale said. Institutions he has worked with have improved their residence hall access considerably with low-cost policy enforcement and education efforts.

Email Dan Pascale at dpascale@margolishealy.com. Email Rhonda L. Harris at rlharris@odu.edu.

Athletics
4/19/2016 12:00 AM

Keeping students, alumni, and all the other spectators safe at big sporting events on campus can seem like a daunting task. But in the years since 9/11, best practices have emerged that will help you keep campus venues safe.

Keeping students, alumni, and all the other spectators safe at big sporting events on campus can seem like a daunting task. But in the years since 9/11, best practices have emerged that will help you keep campus venues safe.

According to Daniel R. Pascale, senior director of security and emergency management services at Margolis Healy, the best overarching strategy for approaching this challenge is:

  1. Conduct a risk assessment.
  2. Make a plan.
  3. Train the plan.
  4. Implement the plan.

For your plan to work well, you need to be collaborative and inclusive, Pascale added.

To conduct your risk assessment, involve officials from across your institution as well as local, state and other governmental officials, Pascale said. Your team should include local police, fire and emergency medical services. It should also include everyone on campus who has a role in sporting events, including staff from athletics, facilities, equipment and IT.

Once you have assessed the risks, start to develop your emergency action plan by deciding who will be in control and what the leadership style will be for game day.

Your plan should include details for both pregame and for game day, Pascale said. The pregame plan might include sweeps of the facility with bomb-sniffing dogs and a system for how and when to inspect vendors.

It should also define the buffer zone around your stadium. That includes determining the acceptable distance for parking. Homeland Security officials can help you make that decision and will walk through your venue with you, Pascale said. In fact, if your institution is in certain states, you have probably had a visit that Homeland Security initiated, he added.

At some institutions, the buffer zone is a challenge. For example, at one institution Pascale has worked with, the back end of the stadium is only 40 feet from a roadway. The town has to close the road on game days, so stadium security impacts the whole town.

You also need to think through a series of questions for managing game day, Pascale said. They include:

  • What traffic control points will be in place around the stadium?
  • When will you close down the stadium before the game and begin controlling access?
  • How do you control access into the stadium?
  • Who will work the stadium gates? Institutions differ on who works at the gates. It could be students, athletic staff, security personnel or police officers, Pascale said.
  • What types of items will be prohibited from the stadium? It’s a good idea to ban bulky coolers and backpacks, Pascale said. And it’s also a good idea to ban outside food and beverages. You don’t know what could be in liquid containers, and they provide a way for chemicals to enter the stadium, he said.
  • How will you communicate, both internally and with partners, on game day? For example, do you have interoperability on radio with your local police?
  • What policies will you have in place regarding tailgating? How far from the stadium must tailgaters be, and what activities will your institution allow?

As part of your plan, Pascale recommended the following best practices:

  • Conduct bag and container checks as spectators enter the stadium. Have staff ask spectators to open their bags so that they can be examined for prohibited items.
  • Pat-downs of suspicious individuals can be effective. And some institutions use handheld or stationary detectors. Anyone who uses the detectors must be trained, Pascale said.
  • Do not allow re-entry to the stadium. “If you leave, you’re out for the day,” Pascale recommended.
  • Stop spectators with items they cannot bring in outside the gate and tell them to take the item back to their car or forfeit it.
  • Advertise the rules about what can be brought into the stadium. Good choices for doing that are through signage, on tickets, in letters that go to season ticket holders, and on your website.
  • Encourage situational awareness. You want spectators to think in terms of “See something, say something,” Pascale said. Options for reporting suspicious individuals or activities could include calling, telling an officer or texting. “No call is a bad call,” Pascale said. It’s always better to investigate than not to, he added.

For more information and ideas, consult the Intercollegiate Athletics Safety and Security Best Practices Guide. The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security brought together experts at the National Intercollegiate Athletics Safety and Security Summit in 2015 to define best practices. The resulting guide provides hundreds of proposed best practices, with information about what issues the best practices address and how to implement them.

Find the guide at http://www.nccpsafety.org/resources/library/intercollegiate-athletics-safety-and-security-best-practices-guide-1.

Leaders & Innovators: Jesse Cashman, assistant VP, safety & risk management, St. Cloud State University
4/15/2015 12:00 AM

Jesse Cashman arrived at St. Cloud State University almost right out of college as a part-time campus safety officer. He had been working as an investigator for the state’s Department of Corrections and wanted a second gig to supplement his income, when he suddenly lost his job with the DOC due to cutbacks. He was offered a position as a corrections officer, but that didn’t appeal to him, so he turned it down. It was the best thing that could have happened.

Jesse CashmanJesse Cashman arrived at St. Cloud State University almost right out of college as a part-time campus safety officer. He had been working as an investigator for the state’s Department of Corrections and wanted a second gig to supplement his income, when he suddenly lost his job with the DOC due to cutbacks. He was offered a position as a corrections officer, but that didn’t appeal to him, so he turned it down. It was the best thing that could have happened.

As he worked on his master’s degree in police administration at the University of St. Thomas, his job at St. Cloud turned into full-time employment. He went to class during the day and worked in the evenings, working his way up the ranks at St. Cloud to the very top before leaving to accept a position at another institution as director of safety and security. He was in that role for eight years.

Meanwhile, he finished his master’s degree and began teaching sociology and law enforcement. After moving yet again to another college, where he served as the director of public safety and risk management, St. Cloud began calling to him again. Last summer, he returned to the institution where he first fell in love with campus safety, this time as the assistant vice president of safety and risk management.

Having now been in several campus safety leadership positions, he knows just what it takes to succeed.

“I learned some hard lessons along the way,” he said. “One of those is that you really have to listen and gather the perspectives and concerns of your major stakeholders first and foremost.”

That’s why the minute he stepped back onto the St. Cloud campus, he set to work meeting with key stakeholders, both within and outside the campus community, to hear what they had to say.

“This is a large institution. It takes up about a third of St. Cloud. So the city has a vested interest in how successful we are and in the safety of our students,” he said.

Cashman has worked hard to cultivate relationships with local law enforcement. There’s a mutual aid agreement between that department and his unit, which he has recently worked to wring more benefit out of. For instance, he employed three officers from the local police department to work on campus and in the immediately surrounding neighborhoods. Those officers’ job is to investigate and work to prevent violent crimes.

“It’s a way for us to provide value back to the city,” he explained.

Clearly, Cashman is a big believer in collaboration. At his previous institution, he launched a security collaborative that involved a neighborhood near the campus, area businesses, the police department, a hospital and other institutions. They met each month to discuss safety topics and stay on top of what was going on both on campus and nearby in the surrounding community. He’s now emulating that model at St. Cloud.

He recently launched a citywide collaborative involving the local police department, mayor’s office, neighborhood groups and local residents, a nearby technical college, and internal stakeholders such as students and residence life. They meet monthly to discuss safety issues and big upcoming events.

Another monthly meeting that he initiated involves internal security and police officers, as well as other campus stakeholders. They discuss what’s going on at the institution and how to better serve campus constituents. In addition to ensuring everyone knows what his department does, he’s also brainstorming with administrators across campus about how his department can better help them carry out their mission and goal of educating students.

“That’s how you ensure you’re not always just reacting after things happen,” he said. “Law enforcement is so much about communication; not just about enforcing the law, but also about communicating the law, creating an understanding of it, and making sure that the people you serve understand your mission, vision and goals. You have to meet people on the positive end of things, not just on the enforcement end.”

For more information, you may contact Jesse Cashman at jmcashman@stcloudstate.edu.

Leaders & Innovators: Kevin C. Whitlock, director of public safety, St. Cloud State University
3/12/2015 12:00 AM
Kevin C. Whitlock
Kevin C. Whitlock
After working for a park district for more than two decades, Kevin C. Whitlock decided to move into the higher education setting and accepted a position as director of public safety at St. Cloud State University.

“I did a lot of research on the position and the profession and found a lot of similarities between higher education campus safety and what I had been doing in the park district,” he said.

Kevin C. WhitlockAfter working for a park district for more than two decades, Kevin C. Whitlock decided to move into the higher education setting and accepted a position as director of public safety at St. Cloud State University.

“I did a lot of research on the position and the profession and found a lot of similarities between higher education campus safety and what I had been doing in the park district,” he said.

He began his new position on Aug. 18 — just before the start of the new fall semester. That didn’t give him much time to get acquainted with the campus, his new role and his staff. Despite that, Whitlock didn’t miss a single beat.

He carved out time to meet with key campus leaders and members of his department to find out the institution’s main safety needs and concerns. That helped the unit continue to operate smoothly and provide the level of service everyone was used to through the transition.

“At the start of the fall semester, there’s a whole lot that goes on at any institution. On top of that, we had to get our Clery reporting out of the way,” he said. “It was a bit of a whirlwind, but I thought it was imperative that I make time to connect with everyone early on so we could ensure the needs of our customers were properly met.”

Once that initial rush of activity began to subside, Whitlock promptly started looking ahead. Specifically, he sought ways to improve relationships between the campus community and the local community.

Top campus leaders had told him early on that they wanted to improve town-gown relationships. Like many institutions, the campus is surrounded by residential neighborhoods where many local residents who are not affiliated with the university live. So when students get rowdy, local residents tend to complain.

He began reaching out to local residents to learn their specific concerns and how they would like to see those concerns addressed. He also reached out to the local police department to find out how they could work more closely together to address safety issues in the areas immediately surrounding the campus.

In addition, some local youngsters were coming on campus, vandalizing property, and generally creating havoc that the university’s public safety department then had to spend time responding to.

“It turned out that what a lot of these youths wanted was access to campus, our facilities and events,” he said. “So we worked to find ways to meet those needs and make them see the university as an asset and partner.”

That’s where his former career in park service law enforcement came in handy. Whitlock has experience establishing outreach programs to bring members of the community together. For example, he established an internship program for black girls that focused on generating interest in law enforcement careers. He also partnered with a local school to facilitate educational events. And he ran a “Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs” campaign aimed at youngsters in the neighborhoods surrounding the parks in his district.

“Here at the university, we have a number of programs, such as those focused on curbing alcohol use, that could easily be extended to also serve younger students in the surrounding neighborhoods,” he said.

That’s the sort of thing that comes naturally to Whitlock. He considers himself a product of the Minneapolis park system and its myriad programs. As an adult, he volunteered as a youth coach so he could give back. It’s why he chose to go into park law enforcement.

Now, as a key player in improving town-gown relationships, that personal philosophy of giving back to the community will help him ensure that rather than having local residents resent the institution, they will come to appreciate everything it has to offer them.

For more information, you may contact Kevin C. Whitlock at kcwhitlock@stcloudstate.edu.

Leaders & Innovators: Matthew Carmichael, chief of police, University of California, Davis
2/10/2015 12:00 AM

Becoming a police chief was never part of Matthew Carmichael’s plan. When he was asked to step into the role after the infamous 2011 pepper spraying incident that catapulted the University of California, Davis, into the spotlight led to his former boss being placed on administrative leave and then terminated, he said “no.” But university officials were persistent.

Carmichael served in the chief role on an interim basis until last spring, when, following a national search, officials decided he was the best person for the position and dropped “interim” from his title.

Becoming a police chief was never part of Matthew Carmichael’s plan. When he was asked to step into the role after the infamous 2011 pepper-spray incident that catapulted the University of California, Davis, into the spotlight led to his former boss being placed on administrative leave and then terminated, he said “no.” But university officials were persistent.

Carmichael served in the chief role on an interim basis until last spring, when, following a national search, officials decided he was the best person for the position and dropped “interim” from his title.

And although this former municipal police detective never expected to find himself leading his beloved department, it’s difficult to imagine that anyone else could have accomplished what he has.

With the media still swarming the campus, Carmichael quickly rolled up his sleeves and set to work on damage control.

“As a department, we do a lot of great things, but like any other department, we make some mistakes too,” Carmichael said. “The way forward was to acknowledge our mistakes and then work together with our community to move forward from there.”

While the media portrayed a police department and campus community at odds with each other, Carmichael worked to bridge the divide and dispel the “us-versus-them” perception by listening to students, faculty and staff, and inviting them to help him transform the department into one they could be proud of.

“Look, we know how to investigate crimes and catch the bad guys, but that’s 20 percent of the job,” he said. “That other 80 percent requires learning what the community wants from us and providing it, and that means listening.”

He invited students, faculty and staff members to share their concerns, questions and ideas. He also listened to recommendations from the various groups who reviewed the pepper-spray incident and audited the department. For example, a report by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso criticized the unit’s policies and procedures as being out-of-date.

Carmichael turned to Lexipol, a consulting company that specializes in law enforcement risk management and policies and procedure development. Once Lexipol had developed new policies and procedures for the department that reflected current best practices and changes in the law, Carmichael turned to his officers and members of the campus community at large to review them. Those meetings — many of which lasted late into the night — led to numerous revisions.

“It was an opportunity for us to collaborate with those we serve and develop policies and procedures that reflect and represent the campus community,” he said.

Carmichael also created a Student Advisory Council, which includes student leaders and others interested in campus safety issues. He meets with the council once a month. Carmichael’s role is simply to listen to students, who may bring complaints, concerns, ideas and questions. Once those meetings are over, Carmichael makes sure that what was discussed isn’t simply forgotten.

“Some brilliant ideas have come out of those meetings,” he said. “But it also creates a sense of connectedness between my department and the community.”

He has also found a way to involve members of the campus community in the hiring process for his unit. In the past, the department’s hiring panel incorporated members of the campus community at large, but about 80 percent of the panel was composed of members of his unit, Carmichael explained. Now, the panel is 80 percent campus community — including students, faculty and staff from other departments — and 20 percent campus safety staff.

“That way gives the community an honest voice in the department,” he said.

In addition, Carmichael created a cadet program for UC Davis students who are interested in law enforcement careers. The program is now in its third year and has led to various cadets receiving sponsorship from the department to enroll in the police academy. Several of those students now work for the department.

“In 10 years, if we keep this up, this department will look very different,” he said. “We’re essentially building the department from our own community.”

Carmichael is happy to share the details of the program with anyone wishing to start a cadet program on their campus. In fact, he’ll not only invite you to audit his program, but will also go to other campuses to advise them on how to do so, he said.

For more information, you may contact Matthew Carmichael at mecarmichael@ucdavis.edu.

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    Joan Hope became editor of Campus Security Report in 2014. She brings years of experience in higher education and journalism to her work.

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