Nov 16, 2018
By Paul Ominsky, President
As all of our academic semesters wind down for exams and the holidays, I have observed it’s been a busy semester based on national campus events. I want to thank you and your teams for keeping our campuses safe, thereby allowing the academic mission, programs, and athletic events to be easily accessible for faculty, students, staff, and our many visitors.
On our campuses, our public safety organizations—whether they are sworn, non-sworn, or combinations—have the responsibility to create safe campus environments. We do this well; so well that studies have shown that our campuses are safer than the communities around them. However, in order to continue to advance our profession, it is my opinion that we need to focus on two continuing aspects of the work.
One is our service orientation. I call this community caretaking, and it is different from community policing, which is more of a program. Community caretaking is a department-wide philosophy that our focus on campus should be one of service, involvement by all officers within the department in the form of liaisons to student groups of all types (residential, sports teams clubs, etc.) and de-emphasis of the enforcement aspect of public safety. This is not to say that we turn a blind eye to crime. Crime response is important and must be done well, but it should not be, in my opinion, the focus of our security efforts. Rather, by focusing on community caretaking, we can build trust and important relationships with our community that change the dynamics of our work.
A community caretaking department provides a much more rewarding workplace for our officers since they become part of the fabric of the community.
I encourage each of you to consider adopting a community caretaking approach.
My second focus this issue is on staff training. In today’s more complex world and campus environments, all of our staff need regular training. IACLEA is committed—and I am committed—to providing more training for all of our members. In particular, we plan to add training that is designed with the unique needs of non-sworn public safety personnel to our training roster. The new Non-Sworn Committee has been charged with developing programming for this important segment of our membership. Topics under consideration include an active-shooter response for unarmed, non-sworn personnel (developed in conjunction with the National Tactical Officers Association) and a basic training for public safety officers. The timing for rollout is not yet set.
As we close the fall semester, all of us at IACLEA offer you and your staff best wishes for the holidays and our hope for a restful semester break.