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New ‘Orange Watch’ program promotes safety of SU community, places more officers on patrol
New ‘Orange Watch’ program promotes safety of SU community, places more officers on patrol May 01, 2007Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
With support from Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor, tomorrow, Wednesday, May 2, the Syracuse University Department of Public Safety (DPS) will launch the “Orange Watch” program, which will provide a new, expanded DPS presence in key areas on the North and South campuses and in neighborhoods north and east of campus. The program, which Cantor formally approved last week, authorizes the department to hire a new corporal and expand DPS peace officers’ hours of armed walking, bicycle and vehicle patrol coverage. It is intended to supplement DPS’ and other law enforcement agencies’ current activities in areas frequented by students, faculty and staff.
“The safety and security of our students, faculty and staff, and ensuring a safe and supportive learning environment is one of our highest priorities,” says Cantor. “Like the other safety, transportation, diversity and student life initiatives we put in place this year, Orange Watch is a collaborative result of the partnership we’ve created with student leaders to address the issues that students care about most.”
Orange Watch officers will be on patrol throughout the calendar year; the increased presence will be most pronounced between the hours of 6 p.m. and 4 a.m. and on weekends — times when students have the most serious concerns about safety, according to DPS surveys. Officers on Orange Watch will expand DPS presence in several areas: the entire South Campus and the Hookway Tract and the Lampe Athletics Complex; the Vincent Street and Thurber Street areas between Comstock and East Brighton avenues; North Campus’ West lots and the nearby streets to East Genesee Street; and the Thornden Park/East Neighborhood area to Westcott Street. Orange Watch will put five additional peace officers and a supervisor on patrol in these areas at night on weekends. During the summer months and on weekdays during the academic year Orange Watch will provide three additional peace officers. As a result, patrols in these areas during these times will increase by nearly 40 percent on weekdays and more than 60 percent on weekends.
As they perform their Orange Watch duties, DPS peace officers will be highly visible; interact in community building, problem solving and crime prevention; and provide services to students, faculty, staff and residents in need of law enforcement assistance. Peace officers on Orange Watch will promote the safety of students who are found walking alone or in small groups; use DPS’ radio network to report on any signs of criminal activity or other safety and security concerns; and assist Syracuse Police Department officers on request.
“We understand that, in order to provide a world-class learning experience, we must foster a sense of community and safety,” says Eleanor Ware, senior vice president for human services and government relations, who oversees the Department of Public Safety. “Orange Watch is intended as both a deterrent to crime on and near campus, and a helpful presence for members of the campus and nearby community.”
Orange Watch is one of several current SU initiatives in the areas of safety and security. In recent months, the University administration and students have collaborated on several task forces, committees, working groups and individual efforts to complete detailed assessments and create response plans for a variety of issues. Cantor presented the first of these in January at the inaugural Student Leaders Summit, an event organized by Student Association to air issues of mutual concern to students and the administration.
Achievements to date include students’ direct input into a series of lighting surveys on North Campus, South Campus and in nearby neighborhoods; lighting studies’ recommendations of additional light poles, flood lights and “blue light” call boxes on South Campus were implemented this spring. A University-wide security steering committee is nearing completion of its study of best practices in electronic surveillance. And DPS has reaffirmed its commitment to community policing on South Campus, assigning officer C.J. McCurty to focus on community policing and crime prevention there; encouraging officers to participate in South Campus social events; and working with the Office of Campus Planning, Design, and Construction to explore options for a more visible DPS office location on South Campus.