Columbus State Community College Public Safety

Nestled on the edge of downtown, Columbus
State Community College is an academic oasis serving thousands of students daily. It’s a tranquil, yet bustling scene with
a mix of college-age students and individuals over 25 looking to upgrade skills in an ever
changing economy. Maintaining a top safety record requires around-the-clock
commitment. That’s where the Columbus State Department
of Public Safety comes in. With a staff of about 50 – the dispatchers,
police officers and safety specialists keep watch on the Columbus and Delaware campuses. Chief Sean Asbury: In the last several years
we have tried to transform the department into more of a community oriented police agency. And agency that is out in the campus community,
out building partnerships and talking with students, faculty and staff. And really, we’re here to make sure the students
are successful. Sgt. Becky Johnson: A lot of people think that
campus security is not campus police. And we are a police department so we can offer
the same services that Columbus Police, and Upper Arlington Police, and others offer. Sgt. Becky Johnson has been with the department
for a decade. It’s not uncommon to find her heading out
on bike patrol to stay connected to staff and students. Sgt. Becky Johnson: And when I come to work, the
great thing is – I know people here and I can sit down and hang out with the students. Some kids are trying to teach me something
on chess, and then you have your basketball players. They get to know you over the years and that’s
great. The employees can count on you and I love
that. I love when I go in there and the say “Hey,
it’s Becky” and that makes me feel good. The department moved into this state-of-the-art
headquarters in 2009. It includes an instant emergency alert system
that can send messages via text, email or speaker system. All of it is at the fingertips of dispatchers
who also have access to a real-time campus security camera system. Patrick Gunnell, Columbus State Dispatcher:
Right now we have a lot of new technology that allows us to be interconnected with the
students as well as with outside agencies such as Columbus Police and fire, the FBI
and those types of orantizations. So, now we’re better informed so we can
better resond to instances here on campus. For longer-term emergencies or disasters,
there’s an attached Emergency Operations Center with direct high speed internet access. Training sessions – from simple tabletop exercises
to self defense techniques – are scheduled regularly to keep officers and specialists
current on certification. The department offers a professional environment
where four-day work weeks, job stability, and health coverage are key components for
family-minded officers and specialists. Plus, all Columbus State college courses are
offered tuition-free to employees and 75-percent off for spouses and children. Just a few perks for public safety staff. Emily Breece, Safety & Security Specialist:
I love meeting new people. You meet new people every day. Every day I come to work I meet someone new
and it’s a new experience. It’s something different every single day
I’m here. No detail has been overlooked – from a full-scale
evidence and property room to spacious locker rooms – employees who sign on will find
the department provides a clear path toward a public safety-oriented career. Sgt. Becky Johnson: We are a very tight knit group
so that’s a huge plus. We are a small department so you can definitely
could count on them, you know they are always there.

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