Public Safety Gears Up For New Year
By Monique Dos Anjos
Public Safety Officer
The Public Safety Department at Miami Dade College’s North Campus strives to ensure a safe environment for all students, faculty and staff.
“We are here to protect the students, faculty and staff on campus,” said Maurice Williams, director of the public safety department.
Williams, along with Chief Therese Homer, spend hours on campus to make sure that everyone is safe.
“We’re here more hours than at home,” Homer said. “This is our home.”
Homer is a certified police officer with 30 years of experience. She devised a program that’s overall intent is to have “a million eyes on campus.” Homer commenced the College Crime Watch in January 2008 with some faculty and staff. The group was the first at any of the eight Miami Dade College campuses.
“It’s grown a lot since last year,” Williams said. “Dr. Eduardo Padrón made it college-wide.”
The College Crime Watch is similar to the national Neighborhood Crime Watch Program. The Public Safety Department is looking for students with a desire to make a difference on campus.
The Public Safety Department also offers an escort to car service. For example, a student or staff member that has night classes and does not want to walk to their car alone can request the service. The department will then dispatch an officer to walk with the requestor to and from their car.
Officers patrol the campus by foot, go-cart, or bike to maintain safety and look for acts that may seem suspicious or out of the ordinary.
Around campus there are flat screen TVs that show 15-minute crime prevention clips. These clips are reminders of what to do in emergency situations. Students will also notice call boxes in the parking lots and emergency blue phones in every building.
There is also the MDC Alerts, a notification service sent to student’s e-mail or through text messages.
“The students need to sign up for that,” Homer said. “They’ll get the emergency beforehand.”
The notification service is for all types of emergencies including weather announcements. It comes in handy especially during hurricane season.
For students who have witnessed an act of violence and are scared to say anything about it, the public safety department offers a “silent safety” on the website.
“Students can use that link to report what they observed and still remain anonymous,” Williams said.
Homer also does presentations in classrooms that refer to domestic violence, which are mainly done during women’s history month.
For students who are interested in standing up against crime and looking for community service, the public safety department offers service learning.
“We are an official service learning site,” Homer said. “It meets two of the requirements from General Education.”
Homer is also looking for students interested in working for public safety.
“Homer and the Public Safety Department have looked very favorably at hiring students who meet the requirements of public safety officers,” Williams said.
More tips and brochures are located on the front table in the Public Safety office in Room 1175. For assistance on the escort to car service or to report a crime, students can call (305) 237-1100, or visit the website: http://www.mdc.edu/north/publicsafety.
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