NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

NECC to bid public safety

Public Safety is an important department on any college campus. NECC contracts with a private company called Eagle Investigative Service, Inc., or EIS, for its public safety.

“Eagle was the public safety company that was under contract [four years ago]; so this was bid out before I got here, and I think they’ve been here 12 years,” said Vice President of Administration and Finance and CFO David Gingerella.

EIS provides 24-hour surveillance in Haverhill and surveillance in Lawrence during operating hours. Safety officers on campus were hired and trained by EIS.

The head of Public Safety is former Lawrence police officer Gene Hatem. Hatem was an officer for 32 years, and he spent much of his time as a Sergeant Detective in Investigations.

“College keeps us very busy,” said Hatem.

EIS was founded in 1996 and specializes in private security, crisis response training, public safety and private investigative services. The company is located in the Christine Building (Second Level), at 236 Pleasant Valley St., in Methuen, Mass.

Training for NECC’s current public safety officers was completed in 2012.

EIS is currently looking to hire at least one additional part time security officer for Haverhill and Lawrence.
The basic requirements stated on the posting are a minimum of associate degree or the equivalent in related experience. CPR certification and first aid is required, and trainees must be able to pass a 40 hour training program.

Candidates must: have a Mass. driver’s license, basic computer skills, be able to lift up to 50 pounds, and pass a full background check.

EIS prefers if speak and understand Spanish, and have one to three years of related experience and former police experience. These criteria are not mandatory.

Public safety also publishes Annual Safety Reports which contain crime statistics and information about the Public Safety Department. The latest report available is from 2013 and contains crime statistics from 2012.

On page eight of the Annual Safety Report, it is says, “Public safety officers do not operate with police powers and do not carry weapons.”

The Jeanne Clery Act and Campus Crime Statistics Act make the Annual Safety Report a requirement.

NECC puts out an RFP, or Request for Proposal, when looking a to contract a new company. The RFP is posted on a state site known as CommBuys, a “procurement system for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Executive Departments,” according to the site.

“This year, we’re taking the next step. We’re preparing the RFPs. We have a consultant that helps us do the RFPs; he’s a lawyer out of New Jersey that actually does this for a living,” said Gingerella. “We have his major contracts.They’re called the Berkshire Group, the group that helps us do this. They write the RFPs [and] they go out and help us find people to solicit and do the bidding. The two big ones that we’ll be doing will be Public Safety and the Day Care Center.”

The Berkshire Group is based out of New Jersey and provides financial consultation to many institutions of higher education such as NYU, Brown University and the Massachusetts Higher Education Authority.

The RFP for Public Safety is being written now, and it should be published sometime in November. Bids from security companies should come back by early January.

If EIS is not contracted again, it will finish out spring semester and a transition will be made to the new company

“The date is June 30, if we were going to switch contractors. We would start doing the transition sometime in April or May, and then July 1 we’d do the final switch-over,” said Gingerella.

“It’d be up to the new company to tell us how they would be able to handle [hiring the guards from the other company],” said Gingerella. “More than likely, we would say that some of the individual that had been there have a significant amount of time and knowledge; if we were changing companies [the current security guards] could certainly stay with EIS if EIS had a contact where they could move them. But if they didn’t, they would be laying them off anyway, so they would be applying for the jobs and would be more than likely be considered for them.”

“We are being extremely careful on how we do this because we know how important public safety is to faculty, staff and students of the college,” said Gingerella.

NECC public safety can be contacted by calling (978) 556-3333. In an emergency, dial 911. Public Safety can be found on the first floor of the Spurk building on the Haverhill campus, or in the Franklin Building on the Lawrence campus.


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