NECC Observer

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

NECC’s police chief has eye on future as college seeks to improve, adapt security

Safety, one of the most important traits that the modern human deserves, has become an increasing concern in educational facilities across America. The rise in school shootings, attacks on college campuses, among other things has caused numerous educational facilities across the U.S to start implementing better security and in higher education implementing a police force in response to this issue.

Northern Essex Community College has started an initiative to create a police force and Deborah Crafts, the college’s Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety has been at the helm of this initiative.

In this initiative one of the biggest factors was the technology and improving it on campus. Chief Deborah Crafts has been a pivotal figure in these changes.

“When Northern Essex went from security to wanting to get into the 21st century they were looking for someone with a variety of campus experiences,” said Crafts. She has had a variety of campus experiences and this was important for the success of the initiative.

“Campus law enforcement is all about the community but a lot of it is about the technology,” she said.

These new technologies will be crucial in improving the structure of the campus, one of these technologies is an improved security monitoring system. “Since I started there’s at least 20 new cameras. And each camera does not have one view, so some of them might have two views, some of them might have 5 views, so we’ve got 50 more views,” she said.

The hope in improving the security visibility throughout campus is that incidents like theft, trespassing, damages, and attacks will be prevented, and hopefully through this they can improve safety.

Chief Crafts highlighted the importance of safety on campus but also noted on the pandemic and how the campus has had to respond to COVID-19.

“….I had the emergency planning background so I was able to convene a group of emergency planners,” she said.

Chief Crafts was able to draft a concrete plan with her team to help adjust the college’s policies to fit the COVID-19 guidelines. Her response to the pandemic is a reflection on her ability to successfully run the police force on campus. She is quick thinking and values transparency, something that was noted heavily on by her in a recent interview and you can see this in how the college handles COVID-19. When a case is reported the community knows quickly, there are so many resources available to one to deal with the current pandemic. Chief Crafts understands how difficult the current situation is currently, and her current goal in integrating new technologies into the campus shows that while she can handle today, she can make the future better.