February 13, 2006

Appropriately, no colors better depict Columbus State's Department of Public Safety than red, white, and blue. Red represents the Safety and Security team, white signifies the police shift coordinators, and blue represents the police and dispatchers.

The Public Safety team takes pride in maintaining an environment conducive to learning. Although the crime rate on this campus is very low, public safety personnel take the attitude that any crime is too much crime, and they are exploring additional steps to reduce it even further.

"This job is not for everyone. You must have a strong and caring passion to serve the public, or you're in the wrong profession," says John Nestor, interim director of the Department of Public Safety.

Much like public safety agencies around the country, Columbus State's Department of Public Safety has grown and evolved with the times, and in context of a dynamic and diverse campus. During the past year, the department focused its attention on developing a strategic plan, creating a labor-management committee to collaborate on issues of mutual concern, and establishing supervisory development as a top priority.

Also over the past year, the Department of Public Safety has focused its resources to better serve the campus community and its needs. Through analyzing data and listening to campus concerns, Public Safety has fine-tuned its key responsibilities into several main areas: community policing, safety and security, communications, parking enforcement, and special services.

Here's a brief overview of each area:

  • Community Policing : "Community policing focuses on traditional law enforcement and policy enforcement, but also includes community engagement, proactive and targeted patrol, prevention, problem-solving, and partnerships," says Nestor. "It balances reactive responses to calls for service with proactive problem-solving, requiring police and campus to join together as partners to identify and effectively address policing issues and common interests." 

    Supervised by Mike Cannistra, 17 state certified law enforcement officers patrol the campus by foot, police vehicles, or bike 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Six officers patrol 7 a.m-3 p.m., six officers patrol 3-11 p.m., and five officers patrol 11 p.m.-7 a.m. Unlike security officers, they have the same arrest authority as any other police officers, deputies, or state troopers.  
  • Communications : Supervised by Kath Wolfangel, six communication technicians answer more than 36,000 calls for service per year, while also overseeing parking permits and ID cards. They are state certified on the Law Enforcement Automated Data System.
  • Safety and Security Department : Babette Money, supervisor of safety and security, keeps the college up-to-date on Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines, building, and emergency management policies including fire, environmental, and health and safety issues. Ben Lees, safety coordinator, is in charge of ADT Security Inc., an alarm monitoring service, swipe card security, and building codes, while Sean Nowlin, access specialist, oversees alarms, provides campus keys, and serves as locksmith.
  • Parking and Special Services: Frank Sugar, program coordinator of parking enforcement/special services, reviews parking regulations, traffic flow, pedestrian crossings, parking citations, and ways to improve parking on campus. He also oversees the department equipment inventory, special events, vehicle fleet maintenance, student finger printing for program admission, employee background checks, and administrative support.

"Now that we are organized by function and have defined responsibilities, we're working more efficiently than in the past. We have a foundation on which we can build and get back in touch with the people we serve," says John Nestor. "We must lead by example."

One such example involves Bill Hickman, a member of the Safety and Security team. On January 31, while patrolling the parking lots, Hickman came upon a woman going into labor.

"Her water had not broken yet, but she wanted to get in her car and drive herself to the hospital. I was able to talk to her about what she was experiencing and took her to the Advising and Counseling offices in Aquinas where we were able to stabilize her," says Hickman, who is also an EMT.

This specialization has also allowed the department to work more as a cohesive team and be more flexible in their approaches to safety, security and policing.

"On February 2, because members of the Security and Safety red team were available to free up our officers from non-police related calls, our officers were able to go directly to the bookstore within a minute of a theft and arrest the suspect," says Mike Cannistra.

In the past year, the department has also established a relationship with The Ohio State University and other neighboring security and public safety organizations to share security information on a monthly basis. They have stepped up collaboration with the Columbus Police Department through foot patrols and routine meetings to discuss issues and crime prevention strategies.

"On February 1, a special duty Columbus police officer assigned to our campus radioed our officer in parking lot 21-S at the corner of McCoy and Cleveland to say students were concerned about crossing the street to go to the lot. Our officer was in the lot, so to let the students know he was there, he turned on his overhead flashing light-bar," says John Nestor. "As soon as he did, a flood of students came across the street, many of whom stopped to compliment and thank him for being there."

Nestor adds, "If you see one of our units with the flashing lights on, it doesn't necessarily mean there's a problem. It's a visible reminder we're on duty, and a deterrent to the criminal element."

Nestor claims the most gratifying part of his job is building relationships on campus. "We build community when we reach out. Any opportunity I have to meet with Columbus State students or staff to discuss public safety issues, I'll be there."

If you'd like to take him up on the offer, contact the Department of Public Safety at ext. 2525.



Women's History Month Committee seeks outstanding women students

Do you know an outstanding woman student leader who deserves recognition for her leadership, outstanding contributions to the community, or ability to overcome obstacles?

To celebrate National Women's History Month in March, the Columbus State Women's History Month Committee will recognize up to 10 outstanding women at an awards reception on March 8.

The committee is seeking nominations for the Outstanding Woman Student Leader Award. The nominee may be: someone to whom others turn for advice or clarification, a woman who has met the challenges of life, a role model in the classroom or the community, or an officer in a student activity organization at Columbus State.

To be eligible, the nominee must meet the following criteria:

  • Be currently enrolled winter quarter 2006 at Columbus State.
  • Be registered for spring quarter 2006 at Columbus State.
  • Have a minimum 2.0 grade point average.
  • Set an example for success in higher education.
  • Have not been previously selected as an Outstanding Woman Student in the past three years.

Nominations, which are due February 22, are available in the Student Activities Office in Nestor Hall Room 116.

For more information, contact Heather Borland, coordinator of Recreational Activities, at ext. 5348.



Woodwind Ensemble to highlight American music

The Columbus State Woodwind Ensemble will present their winter quarter concert of American music at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 14 in the music room in TL-123.

The concert will trace the development of American music from colonial days through the Civil War to John Philip Sousa and Aaron Copland. Works by Amy Beach, Frank Johnson and William Grant Still also will be performed.

The concert will last about 40 minutes and is free and open to the public.

For more information contact Thomas Lloyd, band director, at tlloyd@cscc.edu.



Volunteers needed for the 2006 Arnold Fitness Weekend
Volunteers are sought to be part of the Arnold Fitness Weekend, claimed to be the largest three-day sports festival in the world, with more than 15,000 athletes and 120,000 enthusiastic fans. From March 3-5, athletes will complete in 30 sports, of which 15 are played at the Olympic level.

Volunteers are needed to serve as VIP motor coach ambassadors. Duties will include greeting and welcoming guests as they enter the motor coach at each stop, reading a short welcome and information sheet at each stop, serving as an ambassador of the Arnold Fitness Weekend and city of Columbus, and distributing brochures.

All volunteers will receive four Arnold Expo tickets and complimentary parking. 

The Arnold Expo features the Cheerleading and Dance Nationals, Martial Arts Festival, Gymnastics Challenge, Youth DanceSport, Bench Press Challenge, WPO Championships, 5K Pump and Run, Weightlifting Championships, Fencing Classic, Table Tennis Challenge, and more.

If you're interested in volunteering, contact Gwen Stultz, events manager at the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, at 614-221-6670.