Public Safety Spring 2024 Update

A Message from Yolanda Smith Executive Director of Public Safety
Tufts University sign

Tufts community members,

As the spring semester comes to a close, I am writing to share updates from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) as we continue to implement recommendations made by the Campus Safety and Policing Working Group and other improvements to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of our campus communities.

Healing and Peace

This academic year, we partnered with many groups across the university. Being part of this community with all of you has been our pleasure. Trust and transparency are action words to us, and we will never stop working to find ways to bridge the gaps between our department and our community. When we take the time to learn about one another and create spaces of support, empathy, awareness, and respect, we all win. This year, amidst much conflict, we remain focused on healing and peace.

Please read on to learn about recent improvements to the department.

Medford/Somerville Campus Security Officers (CSOs) 

We now have 41 Campus Security Officers (CSOs) across three campuses, nine of whom support the Medford/Somerville campus. In addition to their general duties, outlined in my previous update, CSOs now play a crucial role in coordinating SafeRides with our dispatchers and assisting with Late Night Dining in the Campus Center. You will find our CSOs in Ballou Hall Monday through Friday and can easily spot their Public Safety vehicles with the blue hoods.

A Second Comfort Dog

Following Pepper’s successful arrival on the Medford/Somerville campus this fall, we are thrilled that a second pup has joined our team. Hayley is a two-year-old yellow Lab who will serve the Medford/Somerville campus community alongside her handler, Officer Jessica Brandon. Officer Brandon served as a dispatcher for TUPD for three years before becoming a sworn officer in 2021. Officer Brandon and Hayley have successfully completed their training and are now supporting the Medford/Somerville campus community. If you see them around, please stop to say hello.

Mandatory Training

One of the biggest changes at DPS has been new and updated training practices. Over the last two years, TUPD officers have undergone mandatory training on essential topics such as Cultural Competency, Duty to Intervene, De-Escalation Techniques, and Responding to Emergencies Involving Individuals with Mental Illness. Additionally, all sworn staff and dispatchers participate in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) and Mental Health First Aid training to foster a safer and more supportive environment for all Tufts community members.

Public Safety Websites

Since 2022, we have been partnering with Tufts Technology Services (TTS) to update all the Public Safety websites including Tufts Police, Fire Safety, Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services, Threat Assessment and Management, and Public Safety. This March we completed updating all six sites to better reflect our latest policies, services, and resources.

Stay Up to Date

While DPS has made significant progress in many areas, there is always more work to be done. To learn about what is new and upcoming, please visit our Progress Dashboard. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out to Public Safety by email. You can also stay updated by following us on Instagram and visiting our website

From all of us at DPS, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for your ongoing partnership and support this past year.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and safe summer!