Steven Smith, guest writer
On Thursday, March 30, the Department of Campus Safety hosted Coffee with Campus Safety. The event, held in the LAPC, featured the Campus Safety Command Team, who wanted to meet with the members of the APU community for “open dialogue and fellowship” according to Chief Timothy Finneran, executive director of the Department of Campus Safety.
“I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I should go and get to know them’ and in the future when my concerns are crystallized into an actual complaint I would be more comfortable coming to them,” Economics and Humanities major Angela Pham said.
According to Finneran, topics of conversation included the [proposal to] arm officers on campus, the relationship between Campus Safety and the Azusa Police Department, how the department notifies the public of events, how they interact with facilities outside of the main campus and, of course, parking.
“[Parking is] a major issue for us … and we’re working on some changes and proposals,” Finneran said. ”Hopefully [the university will] implement those for the upcoming academic year.”
Faculty, staff and students came to the event each for their own reasons. Junior computer science major Trevor Roberts, who got his bike stolen last year, asked the officers about how he could prevent theft from happening in the future.
“I did lock it up, but not in the best way,” Roberts said.
Lt. Lee Hollowell advised him to make sure he got a quality U-lock, stating some U-locks can break pretty easily.
During the event, Finneran announced a vulnerability assessment which resulted in a list of 72 “recommendations for change” for Campus Safety and the university. The assessment was conducted in May by an outside organization contracted by the university. Some of the recommendations, such as new uniforms and a restructure of the Command Team, have already been implemented.
“One of the recommendations was that there was some type of structure in the organization, that way people would know their roles and their responsibilities,” Finneran said. “So we’ve reorganized the Command Team so we have a field operations lieutenant, special operations lieutenant, and administrative lieutenant.”
Campus Safety is exploring additional changes for the future, including the possibility of having armed officers on campus and the use of body cameras.
“We’re in the very preliminary stages of body camera studies.” Finneran said. “So what we’re doing, is we’re reaching out to law enforcement agencies that have the body cameras. We’re actually reaching out to colleges and universities who have incorporated the body cameras as part of their tools and equipment.”
According to Finneran, Campus Safety would work with the legal department and present the body camera program to the APU community before being implemented.
“We’re not just going to put something out there without looking deep into it and know that it’s going to work for us and that we’re comfortable with it and the community is comfortable with it also,” Finneran said.
The relationship between Campus Safety and Azusa PD was another topic of conversation at the event, including the enforcement of moving violations on campus under the California Vehicle Code.
“We’ve implemented the moving violation on our campuses in order to create a safer environment for the community and that’s really the goal of traffic citation,” Finneran said.
Campus Safety is looking to work with Azusa PD to do on campus drills in the future and maintains relationships with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Citrus College as well, Finneran said.
In addition to Finneran and Hollowell, Deputy Chief Christopher Carlos, Lieutenant Armand Tambouris and Lieutenant Gary Kossky were all present at the event.
This was the first of several events planned to increase engagement between Campus Safety and the community.
According to Finneran, brown bag lunches are planned in the future which will address specific topics of concern and need.
“We are here to serve the community at large,” Finneran said. “We’re here to serve our students. We’re here to serve our faculty and staff and we do not have any problem with you coming to us with problems, or issues, or concerns or even praise. We want to hear from you.”