In order to foster closer relationships between students and officers, Public Safety recently decided to implement the Adopt-A-Dorm initiative. The program assigns six officers to different residence halls, where they will facilitate activities and get to know residents and staff.
“It’s a program where we would interact with students on a friendly basis to help with crime prevention and fire safety, and be more involved to stay on a positive note,” said Public Safety Officer Thomas Harrington. “I consider myself approachable. This uniform is just something I wear to work.”
The program was first implemented during Orientation week and includes the Butterfields, Clark, Fauver Frosh and 200 Church residences. Officers with designated buildings will be spending more time near their residences. Depending on its success, the program may be expanded to include the Nicolson and Hewitt dorms. Program houses will remain under a separate program.
“The intentions of the program are not to catch students in the act of violating policy, but, like any University official, if [Public Safety officers] notice a policy violation, they are obligated to confront it,” wrote Associate Director of Residential Life Maureen Isleib in an e-mail.
Hopefully, improved relationships will allow students to feel more willing to approach officers if they encounter a problem.
“As nice as PSafe is, people tend to have negative views of them,” said Victor Cadilla ’10, a Resident Advisor (RA) in Butterfield B.
Residents who moved in after orientation will meet their officers as the semester progresses. The Adopt-A-Dorm program will also offer activities such as poster-making contests to get students involved in safety and crime prevention.
Officer Harrington has already memorized the names of many residents and RAs in his designated building, Butterfield A.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Jessica Bowen ’11. “It takes away the idea of PSafe as an ’other.’”
Isleib said that the idea for the program came up last March, when Public Safety supervisors Paul Verillo and Jake Fortier attended the American Crime Prevention Institute. At the Institute, they heard of similar programs being successfully implemented at other schools.
As part of Public Safety’s outreach to students, a table will be set up in Usdan once a week where students can come and ask questions, as well as register bikes.
“When we installed the card access systems [to dorms] a while back, kids were up in arms that we were going to be tracking their movements; that we’d be calling up their parents letting them know what time they got home,” said Director of Public Safety Dave Meyer. “I think students will come to realize [Adopt- a-Dorm] is there for their protection.”
Public Safety will judge the success of the program once it sees it in action and may extend it to other campus residence halls.