One obstacle we face as security administrators and police chiefs is asking for scarce resources to prevent something we hope will never happen. After all, how does one prove the effectiveness of a deterrence policy when bad things haven’t yet occurred?
Ask any campus police officer or security guard about the role we play in furthering our institution’s mission, and you will hear that without security, the academic or medical mission of the institution cannot succeed. Unfortunately, most administrators who dole out our budgets do not see security as the sine qua non of accomplishing the primary mission of their respective districts, colleges or hospitals. At best, they see security as a supporting secondary mission, so security funding usually takes a back seat to funding for front-line academic and healing missions.
As a result, we are asked to do more with less manpower, aging equipment, old security technologies and reduced training.
In this difficult environment, working harder isn’t enough; we must also work smarter.
Partner With Campus Parking and Facilities
There are many things we do to protect our campuses. Many, such as parking cruisers in different locations to give the appearance of police presence, getting periodic threat statements from state fusion centers, and disseminating safety and security information on social media, don’t cost a lot of money.
Another initiative is to team up with your parking and facilities people. There are more of them on campus than us and since they are so ubiquitous, they are transparent. They can go places and see and hear things we in uniform cannot. With a modicum of training about signs of potential terrorism and notification of people and vehicles to be looking for, they become real force multipliers for us.
Finally, an active outreach program to your campus community will empower them to protect themselves and add to the eyes and ears available to you. For more costly initiatives, you can stretch your budget by sharing resources and conducting cooperative ventures with neighboring jurisdictions.
In any event, we still need to put boots on the ground since patrol deters crime, makes our clients feel secure and ensures expeditious responses to emergency situations. However, random patrol does not suffice to protect our campuses. We need to patrol with an eye on protecting our most important assets and doing so in an efficient and effective manner.