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Police expand communication efforts with students, community
March 23, 2015Tweet
University Police continues to increase its “connectivity” not only to students, faculty and staff, but to the Binghamton community as well, Chief of Police Timothy Faughnan told the University Council during its March 20 meeting.
Faughnan presented the annual campus safety report to council members, highlighting the role of University Police on campus, as well as statistics and accomplishments from 2014.
“As the University continues to grow and expand under President (Harvey) Stenger’s leadership, every day is a new challenge,” Faughnan said. “Our student population keeps changing and we change with it. One of the most critical aspects that my department provides is policing services to this community. Every year, we work to get better.”
One accomplishment Faughnan noted is an increase in messaging to students before “major events” on campus. Faughnan first reached out to students this way before Homecoming in October 2014, sending a message via B-Line and the University Police website.
“It said: ‘You are Bearcats. Be classy. Have a good time at Homecoming, but here are some safety tips to keep in mind.’”
The messages continued prior to Halloween, the Super Bowl and Parade Day.
“We are trying to engage our students before things happen,” Faughnan said. “I’m hoping to become an Internet sensation, but that hasn’t happened yet. However, I can tell you that every single message I have posted on our website has blown up in terms of webpage hits.”
University Police also is expanding its communications with off-campus students and Binghamton residents thanks to the “Police Partnership Initiative.” Started in August 2014, the partnership between Binghamton University and the Binghamton Police Department offers a single point of contact for students and community members by sharing the cost of a Binghamton police officer, Dan Flanders.
Flanders, who has served with the Binghamton Police Department for seven years, has office hours at the University Downtown Center and patrols the downtown areas most frequented by students.
“We wanted to find a way to give our off-campus population easier access and a more welcoming environment to the Binghamton Police Department,” Faughnan said. “At the same time, we worked to give city residents easier access for conflict resolution.
“Most of the off-campus students (on the West Side of Binghamton) know who Dan Flanders is because he responds. This is a great collaboration that is still developing.”
Flanders told the council members that he has worked with numerous campus and off-campus groups to resolve issues. He added that he provides extra presence in downtown areas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
“We’re trying to foster a relationship between the students and residents,” he said. “Before this partnership, that was something we did not have.”
Faughnan said he has already received inquiries from officials in Rochester and Oneonta about the partnership.
“Word spreads when you do something innovative,” said Faughnan, who credited President Stenger for the partnership’s success. “This is truly innovative.”
Other accomplishments cited by Faughnan included the growing presence of the Community Response Team; expanded training to include a new sexual-assault policy; and a 68 percent reduction in campus fire alarms requiring a response from the Vestal Fire Department.
While crime incident reports rose to 1,363 in 2014 − from 1,174 in 2013 – Faughnan noted University enrollment has also climbed and that two out of every three reports are non-criminal.
“I view this as a success,” he said. “We continue to remain quite stable. Through our outreach efforts, the students, faculty and staff call us more frequently because they have confidence in us.”