By Captain Paul Morin, Associate Director of Public Safety, Franklin Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Franklin & Marshall Quick Facts
Student Enrollment: The college is a four-year, full-time, residential institution with only a handful of commuters. About 2,100 students are enrolled.
Institutional Setting: A small liberal-arts school, Franklin & Marshall is located in Lancaster, a small city in southeastern Pennsylvania. The campus is primarily residential.
Police Department: The campus police department employs 21 unarmed police officers and 5 contract security guard positions on campus, as well as 3 full-time dispatchers and 1 additional civilian employee.
ver the past two years, Franklin & Marshall College has enhanced its physical security posture by initiating specifically targeted technology projects designed to assist its Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Campus Police.
The first enhancement project was the design, implementation, and installation of 21 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras outlining the campus perimeter, on campus parking lots and specific locations in the local neighborhood, where a large number of students reside. The video is fed live to the DPS dispatch center and is monitored during specific hours by either the dispatcher or a contract security guard. All video footage is recorded on a digital video recording system for archiving and playback of video footage for up to 30 days. This enhancement was a three-phase project; more cameras are proposed for installation in the near future.
Since the DPS implemented the CCTV system, it has proven itself a sound deterrent to criminal activity in the campus area and has paid for itself by assisting in numerous incidents that were deterred by their presence. The system was used in several high-profile cases and assisted officers in tracking and apprehending offenders involved on and off the main campus. The city police department relies on it when working cases in the area of the college and is provided with assistance and video footage by the DPS.
A second major technological enhancement was the installation of a campuswide emergency siren and notification system. The system is operated from the DPS dispatch center and is equipped with prerecorded verbal messages and a public address system, which can be used to pass on incident information and instructions. In conjunction with the siren system, the college also adopted the use of the E2campus text messaging system, which notifies all registered community participants of emergency situations taking place on the campus and details specific instructions.
The decision to install a campuswide emergency siren and notification system stems from the tragic events at Virginia Tech. It is the college’s hope and desire that the system be used only when conducting its quarterly tests.
From The Police Chief, vol. 75, no. 3, March 2008. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.