Pima Community College has made public two reports prepared by an outside firm charged with objectively and independently assessing PCC’s safety and security operations.
Security Risk Management Consultants of Columbus, Ohio, conducted two different reviews for PCC – one for security and one for threat assessment. For each review, the firm made daytime and nighttime visits to college campuses, interviewing students, faculty and employees.
The firm’s reports, which can viewed on the PCC police department’s Reports and Statistics webpage and on the Key College Documents webpage, include a set of recommendations that will help guide future safety and security enhancements.
“My objective in asking for the assessment was straightforward: to improve safety and security for our students and staff,” Chancellor Lee D. Lambert said. “We are constantly and proactively improving security and safety on our campuses, learning centers and other facilities. Commissioning an independent evaluation from a nationally respected firm is part of that process.”
SRMC’s clients include numerous educational institutions in the United States and abroad, such as the University of Virginia, Ohio Wesleyan University, Laramie County Community College and The American University in Cairo. The firm also has provided security advice to government agencies, corporations and retail centers.
PCC’s Vice Chancellor for Facilities Bill Ward, who oversees the College’s Police Department, noted that future safety and security enhancements will build on numerous steps already taken, such as the installation of new door locks and the launch of a text-messaging alert system.
“The annual crime report we publish every year shows that Pima is, overall, a safe place to study and work,” Ward said. “But I believe we can and must do more. In the weeks and months ahead we will be looking seriously at all SRMC’s recommendations for strengthening our operations and, once we complete a thorough analysis, begin implementation.”
Among the measures on the horizon, Ward said, is re-evaluating deployment strategies for the College police department, adopting community oriented policing procedures that will increase officer visibility, and expanding the role of community service officers as a supplement to College police officers.
The College also will implement an electronic reporting and records management system and pursue accreditation for its police department with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies or the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
Ward informed PCC’s Board of Governors about the reports on Wednesday evening. His presentation can be viewed here.
He noted police staffing improvements are already underway. He said five officers have recently been added to the department, bringing the number of certified PCC police officers to 33.
“Three new officers are on duty and all are from Tucson,” he said. “They still will need to successfully complete 14 weeks of field training, when they will be paired with an experienced PCC officer, before they are working on their own.”
Acting PCC Police Chief Manny Amado said that the duties of a college police officer fall into a specialized policing model.
“The officer must be knowledgeable in current law enforcement techniques as well as versed in the social sciences, and must truly be a ‘people person’ with a community policing mindset,” he said. “For this reason, Pima police officers are closely scrutinized during field training and beyond to make sure that they are a ‘good fit’ for Pima. The safety and well-being of all PCC students, faculty, staff, and visitors is always the College’s primary goal and it is imperative that we have the right public safety team in place to accomplish this goal.”