Public Safety Collaborative Enters its Second Year
In July 2009 the Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Public Safety departments officially became one. Hampshire had joined with Mount Holyoke the year before, and Smith previously operated independently sharing the same director. In addition to the merger of operations, the colleges set up a central dispatch center housed on the Mount Holyoke campus in 2009. The dispatchers handle calls for service, monitors alarms, dispatches officers and logs for all three campuses.
Officers have been cross-trained on all three campuses in order to provide backup assistance to each campus, but most have a “home” campus which allows officers to be more familiar with their primary area of patrol. This model is similar to that of larger cities where one force covers the city, but officers are assigned certain patrol areas, or “beats,” which allows those officers to become knowledgeable on what is customary for an area so they know when something is out of the ordinary, and they can get to know the communities on their home campus.
Since July 2009 when cross-training began, officers have been able to work at each others’ campuses to help with large events, emergency back-up, and shift coverage when one campus falls below its minimum coverage. The collaboration has also created opportunities for officers who have the talent and interest in a specific area of responsibility to specialize in those skills. For example, Kevin Fournier was appointed as the three-college Investigator/Sergeant, and this summer we expect to hire a second investigator to help Sergeant Fournier with the workload. In addition, the Department will hire an Outreach Officer who will coordinate efforts to connect the Department with students, faculty and staff on the campuses we serve and develop partnerships with key groups on the campuses.
The Department is currently searching for a Director to lead this unique department, and hopes to have someone on board by late fall. Associate Director Barbara Arrighi became the Interim Director in January 2010 following the Departure of long-time Director Paul Ominsky who left to lead the public safety department at Princeton University. Each campus is overseen locally by an Associate Director who is responsible for managing the public safety functions on their campus. At Hampshire, Raymond LaBarre has overseen the Hampshire operations since 2008. At Mount Holyoke College, Lieutenant Bryan Roman has stepped up to take on the role currently vacated by the Interim Director. At Smith College, long-time employee Scott Graham leads the staff and activities. Additionally, the Department has two Lieutenants who are responsible for patrol operations on all three campuses.