Message from the Director

September 1, 2016

The men and women of the Department of Public and Environmental Safety (DPES) extend a warm welcome to the Class of 2020.  We also welcome back our returning undergraduate and graduate students and all Tufts faculty and staff. We hope the summer months provided you with some rest and time with family and friends.

As the academic year gets underway DPES would like to tell you about some select initiatives that have been completed or are underway.  These initiatives are central to the prevention philosophy of the department and reflect best practices in the safety and law enforcement professions.  They are designed to improve upon an already safe environment by reducing risk and improving the overall safety posture of the university.

The Department of Public and Environmental (DPES) Safety Mission Statement:

The department exists to support the goals of the university – teaching, research and patient care – by fostering a safe and secure environment in which members of the Tufts community can learn, work and live.

Whereas safety and security is a responsibility shared by the entire community, the mission is achieved by applying leadership and our unique expertise to partnerships designed to prevent loss, reduce harm, and solve problems.

Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS), Fall 2016

To fulfill our mission, the department has created and maintains a culture of prevention.  For the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) the philosophy and principles of Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) embody our steadfast dedication to prevention.  The core of the COPPS philosophy is to build long term, meaningful partnerships with community stakeholders, work collaboratively with them to identify and address problems and their root causes in a joint effort to prevent or reduce crime, disorder and fear of crime, thus improving the quality of life.

COPPS Community Engagements

During the fall of 2016, TUPD will continue its strong commitment to community engagement. Community engagements are informal, non-adversarial contacts with members of the community that are designed to create strong, on-going positive partnerships that are self-initiated by patrol officers.  These engagements are the foundation for establishing and maintaining trust and building partnerships within the Tufts community.

Last year during the fall semester, TUPD officers initiated 741 documented community engagements with members of the Tufts community. Officers have and will continue to routinely incorporate community engagement activity into their primary patrol responsibilities.

Over the past year, through ongoing focus and commitment of TUPD leadership and officers, the COPPS philosophy has become deeply rooted into all layers of the organization.  We have communicated to officers that one of our priority expectations is that community engagements will increase in the fall of 2016.

Community Oriented Policing and Problem-Solving (COPPS) Activities

COPPS activities include attending stakeholder staff meetings (e.g. meeting with the library staff regarding recent thefts), providing crime prevention training to a student organization, conducting a problem solving initiative, or participating in an organized activity in collaboration with campus partners.

During the months of September and October 2016, we have planned a series of COPPS activities that will be conducted and we’ll continue to add more activities throughout the semester as officers seek and identify new ideas to incorporate into our cache of programs designed to support the COPPS philosophy. Some of the COPPS activities for the fall semester include, but are not limited to:

  • A series of meet and greet barbecues with residence life staff, resident assistants and resident students
  • Student orientation safety talks
  • Pizza on the Police – designed to re-enforce positive actions taken by a Tufts community caught in the act of engaging in good citizenship
  • A series of Coffee with a Cop open forum events with various student organizations, university departments, and campus stakeholders such as the group of six, resident assistants, health services, and other groups interested in coffee and conversation
  • A series of Crime Prevention “if I were a thief,” programs with resident students
  • Safe Party Host Training with members of the Greek Fraternities
  • Teaching Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) through the Tufts Experimental College
  • Raising awareness regarding bike theft prevention via the “Lock it Effectively,” campaign
  • Staffing bike registration tables at strategically targeted hubs on campus
    • Combined, the “Lock it effectively” campaign coupled with the bike registration program, video security on campus and timely investigations, has reduced bike theft on campus to almost no incidents.
  • New employee orientation safety talks
  • ResCop program – university police officers assigned to residence halls charged with creating problem solving partnerships with resident students and residence life staff
  • Geographic based policing (3 beats ) on the Medford/Somerville campus –permanently assigned officers policing the same geographic areas and charged with getting to know the community members in their assigned beats and creating problem-solving partnerships with students, faculty and staff who comprise the community within the assigned geography
  • Crime mapping, designed to identify “hot spots,” assists in informing prevention and problem solving strategies.

COPPS Initiatives in development

  • Civilian response to an active shooter training curriculum. Training will become available to schools, departments and/or groups upon request.
  • Child Passenger Safety Program for private motor vehicles. Free installation and/or inspection of child safety seats by trained and certified personnel, available to staff upon request.
  • “Step Up,” bystander intervention training. Expand the department’s ability by two officers so that TUPD can assist more readily in co-teaching bystander intervention to students alongside other campus partners, such as athletics, residential life, and the Dean of Student Affairs Office (DOSA).
  • Citizen Police Academy – a program designed to acquaint Tufts community members with the activities, demands and operations of TUPD. We are working with the Tufts Experimental College on recently developed curriculum.  The program will begin with a series of workshops with the hope of evolving it to a full Citizen Police Academy.

Pedestrian safety related improvements

As we have done each year since 2013, Tufts joined in partnership with the cities of Medford and Somerville to improve pedestrian and crosswalk safety throughout and around the Medford/Somerville campus by:

  1. Painting all crosswalks
  2. Assuring that new approaching pedestrian crossing signage and pedestrian crossing signage remains in place
  3. Changing out old pedestrian and other safety and traffic signage and replacing it with highly reflective, highly visible signage
  4. Paring back foliage that inhibits illumination of intersecting ways and crosswalks
  5. Repairing out of order street lights

Ongoing pedestrian safety work

As part of an ongoing effort to improve accessibility as well as pedestrian, bike and motor vehicle safety in the areas of 574 Boston Avenue, the new Science and Engineering Complex (SEC), and the coming MBTA Green Line Extension project, Tufts has had a traffic engineering firm evaluate and develop ideas for improvement in the areas of Boston and College Avenues; College Avenue and Professors Row; College Avenue and Talbot Avenue; and Professor’s Row, from College Avenue to Curtis Street.  This work continues.

Pedestrian safety related reminders

We’d like to remind the Tufts community that motorists need to be vigilant of pedestrians and pedestrians need to be vigilant of motorists. Although motorists have more responsibility under the law when operating a motor vehicle on city streets, pedestrians have more at stake if struck by a motor vehicle.

We believe that through these coordinated efforts, in partnership with each other and with the cities of Medford and Somerville, we can reduce crashes involving motor vehicles and pedestrians. We ask that our students, faculty and staff do their part as they walk, bike or drive on and around campus: Please be fully aware, fully engaged, and fully committed to your own safety and the safety of others.

Video security improvements

As part of a multi-year project to reduce risk university wide, video security improvements were completed on the Boston health science, Grafton and Medford/Somerville campuses.  The video security system in place at the Boston – SMFA campus is in the process of being absorbed into the Tufts video security system.

We look forward to working in partnership with our students and staff as well as our host cities and town police, fire and EMS departments in order to provide for the public safety of our unique community.

Have a safe and enjoyable year.

Kevin C. Maguire
Director of Public Safety/Police Chief