Emily VanGorder – Staff Writer
The Department of Campus Safety at Gustavus welcomed a new Director, Frederick Smith, in late January. Smith was born and raised in New York City and first began his career in law enforcement as a member of the NYPD. He then moved on to hold a number of law enforcement jobs across the U.S. He comes to Gustavus from Arizona, having most recently been Chief of Police for the Hualapai tribe.
Campus Safety officers are on-duty for 24 hours a day, and make sure residence halls, academic buildings, and campus are secure, as well as responding to health and safety concerns. Officers are also constantly in communication with members of the St. Peter Police Department. While Gustavus may seem relatively crime-free, the Campus Security Department and officers emphasize the importance of student vigilance and preparedness to prevent crime from happening.
The Campus Safety Department employs students who act as dispatchers. They answer phone calls and act as a middle ground between anyone who calls Campus Safety and the officers on duty. Student dispatchers receive and process radio alarms, talk to officers over the radio, record student patrol, and are ready in case of emergencies. They also deal with parking registration, car jump starts, lost and found, and answer calls and questions.
“My experience has been really positive. The administrative assistant and administrative director oversee us if there are any issues during the day, and they are both extremely helpful, kind, and friendly. The officers also talk to us about their lives outside of campus, continuing the friendliness around the office,” Junior Kelly Carlson said.
Carlson has worked as a student dispatcher since her first year at Gustavus.
“I’ve met a lot of cool new students working this job and the officers are so great… They’ll often ask me how school is, what I’m studying, how my day is going, and give life advice. One officer even brought cinnamon rolls on my birthday,” Junior Libby Markham said.
This is Markham’s third year working as a student dispatcher for Campus Safety.
While most calls are non-emergencies, students often deal with stressful calls.
“Sometimes the shifts can get really stressful, and I’ve grown a lot in my ability to keep my calm and stay level-headed while dealing with a tense situation. I think working at Campus Safety has definitely thickened my skin a bit,” Markham said.
“While most of the calls from the officers are routine, I have had to deal with some emergencies. I think that it’s really important to stay calm, remember all the information you need to log in later, and if necessary, student dispatchers will also make incident reports for the officers to fill out,” Carlson.
Director Smith, welcome to the Gustavus Community.