The newly established National Center for Campus Public Safety will provide a centralized source of information for members of the Boston University community, officals said. The NCCPS will provide training programs for BU Police Departments personnel and will connect them to relevant resources.
BUPD Deputy Director of Pubic Safety Scott Paré said BUPD officials are likely to take advantage of training opportunities provided by the NCCPS.
“Any type of program that’s going to provide additional resources or training or research … to educational institutions at all levels will increase safety and prevent violence,” he said.
Congress officially allocated $2.3 million Wednesday to Margolis Healy and Associates, LLC, a national consulting firm for educational safety and security, and University of Vermont officials for the NCCPS. The Center is slated to open in early 2014.
Some outside sources already aid BU with campus and public safety resources, Paré said. BU is currently a member of the Massachusetts Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, and BUPD officials work with Boston Police Department and Brookline Police Department officials to receive active shooter training.
“There’s a lot of great training programs out there available,” he said. “We certainly have taken advantage of several. Our officers have received training and will continue to receive training.”
Gary Margolis and Steven Healy, MHA’s managing partners, will head the center.
“Right now, the problem is fragmentation,” Margolis said. “There is no centralized resource of information, and we’re working to build that one location for campus officials to go to.”
The center will centralize information about public safety on campus while institutions of campus public safety communicate with one another, according to the NCCPS Prospectus. The center will also provide training and technical assistance to universities and link them to additional resources.
The NCCPS will focus on sharing information with colleges through digital means such as websites, certificate programs, ‘webinars’ and online conferences, Margolis said.
Ileana Tauscher, public relations coordinator for the Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism at BU, said the creation of the NCCPS will encourage dialogue about safety on college campuses.
“Since the focus of the center will be to come up with the best practices, colleges and universities that may not currently have resources to design and implement their own initiatives will be able to adapt models created by the national center,” Tauscher, a School of Management senior, said.
In their decision to pursue new training and use methods provided by the Center, BU officials have reaffirmed their commitment to on-campus safety, Tauscher said.
“The administration has demonstrated a clear commitment to campus safety — from the establishment of SARP [Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center], to the Gender Neutral Housing initiative, to bicycle safety initiatives in response to last year’s accidents,” she said. “Whether or not the school involves itself with the national center, it’s definitely headed in the right direction.”
SMG sophomore Romani Berberi said she generally feels safe on campus because resources such as BUPD and SARP are available to students. Still, she said BU could benefit from the tools offered by the NCCPS.
“There’s always room for improvement,” she said. “A lot of times they [BU] focus their police forces on areas that are heavy parties as opposed to areas that actually should be monitored for other safety reasons. They could probably use a little bit of help in that department.”
College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Zainab Kazmi said she also feels safe on campus.
“There’s a lot of [phone] numbers they gave us, even on the back of our ID [Terrier] cards, for public safety,” she said. “There are also the blue boxes — those kinds of things help me to feel a little safer.”