All over the world, people are paying attention to their personal safety – washing their hands, wearing masks, staying home and social distancing to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19. Now more than ever, those personal safety measures are also a matter of public safety – and not just when it comes to protecting us from the coronavirus.
By taking the precautionary measures of staying home, staff, faculty and students are allowing the Department of Public Safety to keep the College of Charleston campus safe and secure – something it was recently recognized for when it was named the safest college campus in South Carolina.
“I am very proud of the work the members of public safety have done – both before and during the coronavirus crisis,” says interim Chief of Public Safety William F. Herkert Jr., adding that his staff remains on the job, regardless of the pandemic. “Our dispatchers are available 24 hours a day to direct any emergency services on campus, and our public safety officers are patrolling our campus to keep it safe and secure and respond to any call for service.”
And that means business as usual.
“Everyone in the Department of Public Safety is still performing their daily duties as they normally would,” says Public Safety Officer Ryan Baker. “I am still conducting routine patrols and enforcing the laws of South Carolina.”
And, while Public Safety is keeping busy with tasks like catching up on training and walking through buildings to make sure there is no one inside and that they’re free of defects, officers are standing ready for whatever comes their way.
“We are still here to respond to any calls for service and deter criminal activity,” says Public Safety Officer Terry Wilson. “We are maintaining high-visibility patrols, conducting checks of buildings and residence halls, and deterring crime to the best of our abilities.”
“We are here to protect the safety of the campus during the pandemic as first responders,” agrees Corporal Moneke Williams, noting that the public safety staff is taking personal safety measures, too. “All officers are practicing healthy measures while we protect the campus and the people on our campus during this time.”
Even if there aren’t that many.
“We’re all used to interacting with students, staff and faculty during our shifts, so to have the campus so empty isn’t something we are accustomed to,” says Baker. “We are just as excited and eager for life to return to normal as everyone else.”
In the meantime, public safety is there – as usual – to keep campus, and those on it, safe.
Featured image: Public Safety officers in Cistern Yard prior to COVID-19.