Dear Emerson community members,
Greetings, my name is Bob Smith and I am Chief of the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD). I am writing to acquaint you with the services and programs that the ECPD provides. My purpose in doing so is two-fold: First, to let you know how seriously Emerson takes the safety and security of our community, and second, to invite every member of our community to take an active role in providing for their own personal safety by working in partnership with the ECPD.
All of our officers are sworn special state police officers and, as such, have the same authority and powers over all property owned and used by Emerson College as the local police.
Security protocols include:
- ECPD officers conduct high visibility patrols of our campus via foot and marked patrol vehicles.
- The College also employs uniformed security officers who are located at the entrances to all of our facilities, and who can summon an ECPD officer to their location instantly.
- The department also maintains a positive working relationship with the Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police, Transit Police, Boston Fire Department, and Boston Emergency Medical Services, as well as other areas of Emergency Management Services.
ECPD is responsible for enforcing all state laws and college safety and security-related policies and procedures, conducting investigations, leading emergency response efforts, responding to fire and medical emergencies, as well as providing campus safety messages (timely warnings, emergency notifications and community advisories). We also offer a range of other safety and security measures including: safety escorts, lost and found, a medication disposal program, self-defense courses, active shooter training, and CPR/AED certification courses. We strive to have every member of our community take an active role in providing for their own personal safety by working with ECPD. Together, we can maintain the safety of our entire campus community.
Emerson has employed a number of security protocols to protect the community from both everyday problems (e.g. theft, vandalism, etc.) as well as incidents such as natural disasters or events such as active shooter situations. In response to these challenges, Emerson College has implemented technologies and programs to mitigate community risk and maintain a safe campus environment.
Those systems include:
- Emerson utilizes a state-of-the-art Emergency Notification System called Rave to communicate Emerson Alert messages to all community members in the event of an emergency. When activated, Rave sends messages to thousands of individuals by text and email alerting them to any ongoing threat, as well as how to protect themselves. The ECPD strongly encourages all community members to provide up-to-date contact information within the Rave system so they can receive these critical warnings in a timely manner.
- ECPD also provides training in how to respond during an active shooter situation. ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) is a program designed to teach proactive tactics that could be utilized in the event of an armed aggressor threat on campus or elsewhere. ALICE training encourages those in danger to assess the situation, communicate efficiently, initiate lockdown in a strategic yet alert manner, and be prepared to counter an attack, or, ultimately evacuate the scene if/when it is safe to do so.
- LiveSafe is a free mobile safety app for the Emerson community that empowers students, faculty, and staff to take charge of their own safety and to look out for those around them. Its easy-to-use features help you to stay safe and enable us to better protect you. ECPD Dispatch Center monitors the LiveSafe app 24/7. Community members using the app can report tips and safety concerns to the ECPD via text messaging, including picture, video, and audio attachments; summon help by calling or texting the ECPD; travel safely using SafeWalk, a GPS-tagged monitoring feature to let your friends and family monitor your movements virtually until you arrive safely at your destination; and easily access information about safety and emergency preparedness resources.
Emerson is known as a welcoming and inclusive community, however, its location in the heart of the largest city in New England requires that we have a state-of-the-art access control system in place that balances ease of access with practical common-sense safety procedures. Emerson’s access control system has three components:
- Tap and Go requires anyone entering one of our facilities to have a valid Emerson College ID card to tap at the security desks located in the entryways of all of our facilities. Non-Emerson guests wishing to enter must have an Emerson community member sign them in and then be issued a guest badge.
- Hundreds of security cameras positioned around the College focused on the streets, sidewalks, alleys, and building entryways, provide excellent situational awareness of what is happening around the exterior of the campus 24/7. Additionally, if someone is able to breach security, the cameras improve the ECPD’s ability to respond quickly and remove the offending party. Research also indicates that security cameras serve a crime prevention function by deterring individuals from committing crimes.
- Electronic magnetic locks installed on all of the exterior doors to our academic, administrative, and residential buildings provide another layer of security. These magnetic locks are controlled from ECPD Dispatch and upon notification of a threat, the dispatcher can lock down all these buildings in seconds. (Dispatch would simultaneously send out an emergency notification utilizing Rave to inform all community members of the threat and how to get to safety.)
Emerson also follows a robust Emergency Management Plan (EMP) that provides an organized management system for the College to utilize during emergencies. It is designed to be a flexible system in which part of the plan or the entire plan may be activated, as appropriate to the situation. The EMP provides an organizational structure and procedures for the management of information, activities, and operations when responding to an emergency that may be natural, human-caused, or technology-caused disasters.
I hope this brief overview of the security systems and preparations the ECPD has implemented will inform and assure you that we take the safety of our community as our core mission.
We encourage you to learn more about ECPD at https://emerson.edu/departments/police and take an active role in your safety and security.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Chief Bob Smith