Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Department of Public Safety have powers of arrest or are the just a security department?
Our officers are duly sworn officers empowered by Pennsylvania Statute to enforce laws within our jurisdiction. This means our officers have virtually the same powers as police officers in your town or city. Please remember, safety is our number one priority.
Why does Dickinson College have a Public Safety Department?
Dickinson College values a safe and secure community for students, staff, and visitors. Having our own police department helps to ensure that we can provide a high level of protection and service to the campus community.
How many employees work within the department?
We have 10 sworn officers including the Director and management staff. We operate a communications center with 3 full-time and 2 part-time communications officers. Our support staff consists of an Administrative Assistant and a compliment of student assistants that provide student patrol, Safe Ride * Safe Walk, communications and administrative assistance. We also have a contingency of non-sworn, security officers that assist with parking enforcement, patrol, traffic and special events.
How safe is the campus?
We think that our campus is very safe, but we realize that incidents can occur. No community and I stress, no community is totally crime free. We are no exception. We take every reasonable measure and then some to insure that all members of our community are safe and our community is violence free. The thing to remember is that crime prevention on campus is everyone's responsibility. Every community member should take proactive steps to become prepared for campus living.
What services does the department provide?
In addition to providing a full range of law enforcement services, the department provides programs in crime prevention and personal safety, self-defense, and first aid/CPR. Officers within the department act as liaisons to each residence hall and to various groups and organizations on campus. We provide safety and risk management programs. We provide lockout services and motorist assistance that includes portable jump start kits. Our Campus Safety Service provides specially trained personnel to accompany students and staff during their travels on campus. Whether walking from a residence hall to the library or from the Health Center to the HUB, we can be there with you to promote a safe community.
What about the officers, what is their training and experience?
All of our officers are required to receive training and maintain certification in compliance with the requirements of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This training is an ongoing process through yearly updates and continuing education. Some officers have previously worked in municipal policing, while others have experience on college campuses prior to joining our family Officers are trained in many specialty areas such as emergency medical response, hazardous materials, anti-terrorism, drug recognition, and RAD. All officers are trained and certified as crime prevention practitioners. A majority of our officers are instructors in many specialties and teach for various state and local departments.
What are the most prevalent crimes on campus?
Theft is the number one crime on the Dickinson campus. The majority of the thefts take place in the residence halls and are related to unattended property and rooms left unlocked. Theft of text books also causes major loses each year. Finally alcohol related crimes compose a significant portion of each year's crime report. Underage possession of intoxicating beverages and public drunkenness make up the highest number of alcohol related incidents.
What happens if I am arrested or get in trouble?
All persons on college property, including students, faculty, staff and visitors, are subject to the same laws and regulations. When public safety officers issue citations, utilize arrest warrants or make on-view arrests, all procedures appropriate to the Pennsylvania Crimes code will be followed. Incidents on campus regarding students may also be handled and / or referred through internal judicial procedures outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.
When should I contact the Department of Public Safety and why?
Public safety officers are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and should be contacted to report any suspicious or criminal activity. They must also be notified of any emergencies occurring on campus. Questions regarding motor vehicle regulations or laws, parking issues or traffic control needs should be directed to the office of public safety. See "When to Call".
Is there an effort to educate students concerning personal safety?
Officers provide a variety of educational and prevention programs for students during orientation sessions, and during the year as requested. Among these programs are fire safety, personal safety, sexual assault prevention and drug and alcohol awareness. The Department of Public Safety also offers the RAD program at various times during the academic year. The Rape Aggression Defense programs are "women only" sessions that provide training ranging from how to avoid circumstances that are potentially dangerous, to employing techniques of physical resistance. The emphasis is on providing options for women. The RAD programs are offered in both "credit" and "non-credit" formats. During the academic year, via Public Safety advisors and public Safety alerts, students and staff are made aware of safety and / or security issues on campus