The College of Charleston’s Fire and EMS and Department of Public Safety remain dedicated to the safety of the campus community – and, with recent developments, they are protecting campus better than ever!

Public Safety

(Photo by Mike Ledford)

The Department of Public Safety has dramatically increased its training for police officers in active aggressor response. The department will finish 2023 with four federally trained (FLETC) active aggressor–event instructors on staff. In addition, the Department of Public Safety is a finalist in the selection of a facility for hosting Advanced law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT), sponsored by the Department of Justice and Texas State University, and is scheduling aggressor training with the FBI and South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. The goal is for all officers to be subject-matter experts in active aggressor response so the department can not only provide the best possible protection for campus, but assist other agencies in training, as well.

In addition to officers increasing their training, the department now has three instructors on staff who can present ALERRT’s Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training. Over the summer, the Department of Public Safety initiated classes for staff, and is currently scheduling classes for departments across the campus. Participants not only receive the latest in DOJ-approved training for these events, but also training in “Stop the Bleed,” sponsored by the American College of Surgeons, among others. In this training, staff learn proper tourniquet application, as well as other methods of stopping bleeding from traumatic injuries.

The department was able to upgrade not only the training police officers receive, but also the equipment they are issued to deal with day-to-day operations on campus. The Department of Public Safety now has some of the best equipped officers in the state, rivaled only by the Aviation Authority Police Department in the equipment issued.

(Photo by Mike Ledford)

For 2024, public safety is looking forward to the installation of a new dispatch center. This has been in the works for several years, and was finally designed, funded and purchased, with installation beginning in 2024. This will increase the reliability of dispatch and better equip the department to respond quickly to emergencies on campus. Combined with the Public Safety Operations Center (PSOC) and its famous wall of camera views, these two upgrades will allow significantly better response to and investigation of incidents on or near the campus.


The CofC Department of Public Safety was awarded its Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies certification in November 2022.

Significantly, in November 2022, the public safety department was awarded its Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) certification! The College is one of only five accredited campus law enforcement agencies in South Carolina recognized for meeting CALEA’s rigorous standards. CALEA was created in 1979 as the credentialing authority for law enforcement. CALEA accreditation program agencies have demonstrated compliance with CALEA standards in policy, training and operations. CALEA-credentialed agencies must maintain and prove compliance through ongoing assessments and annual submissions and proofs of compliance.

“CALEA standards are recognized as the gold standard for law enforcement throughout the world,” says Associate Vice President of Public Safety Chief Chip Searson. “We believe that obtaining CALEA accreditation demonstrates our commitment and dedication to excellence in law enforcement.”

Public safety reminds faculty and staff to maintain situational awareness wherever they may be: Look for avenues of escape when you enter unfamiliar locations; know the locations of fire extinguishers, AEDs and first aid supplies in your workspace; avoid travel late at night; practice safety in numbers; always safeguard your valuables; and – above all – trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, it very likely isn’t. Be vigilant! Stay safe!

Public safety is here to assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The non-emergency number is 843.953.5609. Always dial 911 in emergencies! And the campus community is always invited to stop by and visit the public safety headquarters at 89 St. Phillip St.