Public Safety update



Cameron Lawrence

During Fall Break, Public Safety took advantage of the mostly empty campus to improve its ability to keep students safe and to update Nova Alert system, which helps keep Villanovans up to date and aware of any threats or situations on campus.

Officers, both old and new, underwent four days of training in diversity and conflict resolution. This was a part of the training promised by David Tedjeske, Director of Public Safety & Chief of Police, in the transition of Public Safety to an armed police force. The first day of training was facilitated by Major Ben Brooks, a retired police officer who now does consulting and training for police departments across Pennsylvania, and the United States.

“It’s helping the officers recognize hidden biases that they may not be aware of,” Debra Patch, Associate Director of Public Safety said. “But it’s also about understanding the community that we’re serving and how biases can impact interactions with the community members.”

The following three days of training focused on conflict resolution, recognizing personality types of people the officers are working with and coming up with solutions both parties will agree with. They also learned how to deescalate situations effectively and peacefully. 

Many students were concerned when the decision to arm Public Safety was announced last year. However, Tedjeske assures students that they do everything they can to hire the right people for Public Safety positions.

“Students should know that we have an exhaustive process that results in a highly selective outcome,” Tedjeske said.

On Friday, Oct. 21, Tedjeske contacted all students, faculty and staff about the update to the Nova Alert system. This update allows students to add more devices for contact using the Nova Alert system. It also allows Public Safety to contact certain groups of students, depending on who the update is relevant to.

The training and Nova Alert update are parts of improving Public Safety’s ability to keep campus safe and peaceful. They are working hard to not only make sure that students are safe, but also that they have officers who will treat students fairly and with respect and who will work to solve problems in a reasonable manner.

“We are truly interested in hearing feedback about our officers,” Tedjeske said. “If a student has an encounter with an officer and they walk away from that not feeling good… we are really, really open and encourage students to come forward who have any issues or problems.”