University police chief touts Community Response TeamTweet
Timothy Faughnan likes to turn around the Los Angeles Police Department’s “to protect and serve” motto when describing the mission of University Police.
“We are here to ‘serve and protect,’” the University Police chief said. “Yes, we are police – bad things happen and we do have to respond. But what’s most important is what we do before bad things happen. Every day we promote safety, promote awareness and become part of the educational mission of the University.”
Faughnan spoke to the Binghamton University Council during its March 15 meeting. He delivered the annual campus safety report and answered questions from council members.
One service accomplishment discussed by Faughnan was the department’s Community Response Team. Formed last September, the “early intervention” team consists of officers who work Thursday through Saturday nights and “deal with emerging situations and engage the campus community in personal-safety initiatives.” For example, officers may go into the community, to Late Nite events, residence halls or area bus stops to identify potential problems, Faughnan said.
“This has become so popular that the officers are stumbling over themselves to volunteer for this duty,” he said. “They love the interaction.”
Faughnan attributed the reduction of disorderly conduct incidents in 2012 (from 61 in 2011 to 32 last year) to the Community Response Team.
“Prior to this team, we would get called when the fights broke out,” he said. “With this team, we are stopping (fights) before they start. Early intervention is the key to what we are doing.”
The Community Response Team even helped students deal with the stress of finals by distributing Sodexo gift cards during visits to residence halls and the library.
“It fostered goodwill and made students look at us differently,” said Faughnan, who added that the Community Response Team will be a regular post for officers in 2013-14.
Disorderly conduct was just one of the crimes that decreased in 2012. Reports of criminal mischief dropped from 116 in 2011 to 99 last year, while grand larcenies fell from 31 in 2011 to 28 in 2012. Overall, reported crime incidents dropped from 1,185 in 2011 to 1,153 in 2012, Faughnan said.
“The real takeaway is: We are stable,” he said. “As the University has continued to grow, our numbers have dropped. As enrollment goes up, we’re keeping things at an even keel. That’s important. There’s nothing startling (in the statistics). It’s a reflection of the consistency and stability that we are seeing on campus.”
Other accomplishments and projects touted by Faughnan included:
• University Police lieutenants participated in a leadership academy through the School of Management.
• Parking Services was re-organized and now has a new director.
• Sign-up for RAVE emergency notification is high, as 100 percent of the student population is enrolled through e-mail, and 40 percent receive mobile-phone alerts.
• Community outreach such as the Rape Aggression Defense program, meetings with the Broome County Police Chiefs and service on off-campus boards will continue.
“We’re engaged in issues that affect students beyond the boundaries of campus,” Faughnan said.