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New community policing effort under way
this fall at all four campuses
Oct. 9, 2012
Lt. Norman Mageau of the Community College of Rhode Island Police wants you to know: “We’re not just here to tell you not to smoke near the building or write you a parking ticket. We’re here to help.”
Be prepared to see a lot more of college police officers this semester as they spread this message and strive to be a bigger part of the CCRI community.
It’s all part of the department’s new community policing program; new College Police Chief Dale Wetherell put Mageau in charge of the effort. In the past, Mageau said, CCRI students and staff did not have much interaction with campus police officers until they had a problem. The officers hope that community policing will change that, helping build relationships between officers and the college’s employees and students.
Community policing is a concept municipal police departments nationwide employ that sends officers to community events to increase their interaction with the people they serve. CCRI’s community policing initiative will see officers attending campus events as well as hosting their own. The next one is an upcoming Oct. 17 visit by the Pink Fire Truck to the Knight Campus to raise awareness about breast cancer. The Coventry Fire Department has donated the Pink Fire Truck to Pink Heals Rhode Island, an organization committed to helping women who are battling cancer.
So far this semester, campus police officers staffed welcome tables at all four CCRI campuses during the first week of school and attended new student orientations for the first time to give safety lectures. Officers at the Knight Campus have attended All Clubs Day and reached out to the Imagine Preschool and the West Bay Collaborative, two outside institutions hosted there.
“We’re trying to integrate with the college community,” Mageau said. “And every step of the way, when we’ve talked to people, they’ve been very receptive.”
Ten officers including Mageau have volunteered for community policing efforts across all of CCRI’s campuses. The officers often attend events on their own personal time.
Besides increasing the visibility of officers, another goal of community policing is making sure that people know how to get in touch with them. To this end, CCRI police have reached out to CCRI student government for help purchasing and distributing thousands of key chains that list the phone numbers for police at each campus. They are available at the College Police offices at all four CCRI campuses.
“We’re partnering up with them to try to get their campus policing goals more visible,” said Knight Campus Student Government President James Gracik. He added that student government provided the funds needed to print the key chains because of their shared goal of keeping CCRI students safe.
“We definitely saw the correlation between student life and the community policing program,” said Knight Student Government Secretary Antonio Lombardi.
Associate Dean of Student Life Christine Jenkins said this semester is the first time she has seen such close cooperation between student government and CCRI Police, adding that the officers are now on a first-name basis with many students.
“This is a step in the right direction for our students,” she said.
Cody Fino, president of student government at the Flanagan Campus, agreed. “This year there is a better relationship between College Police and student government.”
Fino said he met Wetherell on Sept. 12 during a town meeting visit to Lincoln and has a close relationship with the police officers on the night shift there.
“College Police obviously have a big thing to do with student life because if something happens to a student, it’s not always going to be in the power of student government to help them. And when it comes to campus security, I know that CCRI College Police are always there to help,” he said.
Campus policing representatives on each campus are:
Knight: Lt. Norman Mageau, Lori Edmonds and William Orellana
Flanagan: Lt. Ken Dupuis, Jack Mackin, Robert Antonson and Angela Martelli
Liston: Jack Safford and Tony Angelino
Newport County: John Finegan