How Campus Officers Are Making a Difference
I recently had the privilege of interviewing a campus officer for the University of Puget Sound. His name is Todd Badham and he is the Director of Security for the university. He had great insight on campus security and loves his job working in safety for higher education. If you are wondering how campus officers make a difference in their environment and the community around them, read his interview.
SC: Why do you work as a campus safety officer?
Badham: I enjoy working in higher education because, in its nature, it is progressive. I like the challenge and the variety that I encounter every day. I do it because I know that I play a vital role in the success of the university. It is a passion to accomplish a safe environment where community is fostered and education can occur.
SC: What do you do as a campus officer?
BADHAM: I interact with the community that I serve. That doesn’t just include the students on campus, it also includes the citizens that live in the area and the faculty that work here. A big aspect of my job is crime prevention. I am an officer; therefore I must work as such. I also work diligently to educate students on personal safety. This includes holding seminars and workshops on ways to stay safe and keep their belongings secure.
SC: How do campuses utilize officers for safety?
BADHAM: Higher education, in nature is a soft target for unwelcome crime and emergencies because of the open environment. In k-12 schools, fencing and gates are often used to deter criminal activity. Higher education differs in the fact that gates are not used to keep individuals in or out, we strive to keep the campus open and part of the community. By utilizing officers, the campus seeks to create a positive presence of safety for our campus and the area around it.
SC: Why is it important for officers to be on college and university campuses?
BADHAM: We want people to know that we are here to provide a level of protection. If an emergency does happen on campus, we are the first line responders to the incident. By having an active presence on campus, we free up city first responders by responding to and handling calls in our area. We also foster a strong working relationship with Tacoma Police Department and other first responders in our area.
SC: Does a campus officer’s visibility make a difference for safety and security?
BADHAM: I think so. We are here to be the eyes and ears and keep the campus safe especially during “quiet times.” We have uniformed officers that patrol in vehicle and on foot day and night. Students understand that there is a safety presence and that they can come to us with issues that they are experiencing or call our live dispatch center 24/7 to make any reports.
Todd closed out our interview by saying, “the nature of the work has changed over the past 30 years. We are far more professional and trained at a much higher level these days. We have more staff and are consistently training and preparing to respond to emergencies. The city has really evolved around the campus officer position and our tasks have increased. Being a campus officer is much different than what the public thinks of as a security guard.”
Campus officers make a significant difference in the safety and security of a higher education institution. They care about the community in which they work and have a passion for continued safety. Does your college or university employ campus officers? Have you noticed a difference in the perception of safety? Let us know by writing a comment!