NECC Observer

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

Talking Security

Director of Public Safety seeks feedback

Public safety has been a topic of interest for Northern Essex students and faculty for a long time. There have been many events in schools across the country that increase the fear and concern on campus. At Northern Essex specifically,  questions have come up such as “Is three security guards enough?” or “What do the security guards even do?” and the NECC community wants answers. NECC has three security guards during the day and three at night. Their jobs include locking doors, tracking down stolen items,and being the eyes and ears of the school, to name a few. They have no weapons nor are they allowed to touch students for any reason. Some schools have an armed police officer on campus in case of emergencies, Northern Essex does not. Northern Essex recently hired Director of Public Safety Deborah Crafts, who is looking to improve public safety on campus. Crafts is open to all faculty and staff, and can be reached at dcrafts@necc.mass.edu. She has years of experience in law enforcement, and she is very dedicated to “improve public safety here a Northern Essex by implementing current best practice for safety on college campuses.”

Crafts had a lot to say on the matter when asked what she wanted the Northern Essex public to know in regards to public safety. “Public Safety needs to move from a more reactive model to a proactive model,” she said. “Security on college campuses used to mean simply locking doors, jumpstarting cars, and patrolling buildings for hazards such as water leaks or broken stairs.  In today’s society the expectations of campus public safety are much, much broader to include law enforcement, emergency planning, technology, compliance, and community policing to name a few.  This translates to handling calls for service such as hostile intruders, individuals with mental illness, planning for large scale disasters such as kitchen fires, science lab explosions, hurricanes or gas leaks.  Public Safety also needs to be tech savvy so we can handle the different types of software required for our job such as alarms systems, camera technology, or records required to be accurate by law.”

Many students here at NECC say they want the public safety systems in place to be revamped and taken more seriously. Now that NECC has a Director of Public Safety, students and faculty can look for and discuss the changes they want to see. If a student or faculty member have any issues regarding public safety, they are encouraged to speak up and reach out to Deborah Crafts.