What does Public Safety really do?

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Kaitlin Staes is one of two Augustana campus security officers stationed in the Gavle room. Laci Green received death and rape threats before beginning her nationwide college tour lecturing on rape culture.

With Augustana’s continuously rising tuition, many students wonder exactly how their tuition money benefits them and their campus. Public Safety is one large department that is funded through tuition.
Tom Phillis, Chief of Public Safety, says that currently the Public Safety department has 19 people on payroll. These 19 spots include: 3 sworn police officers, 7 public safety officers, 5 full/part time dispatchers, 3 support officers, and 1 full time employee in the access control shop. Public Safety also has 3 patrol vehicles and 1 command vehicle, of which the Chief and Deputy utilize.
Public Safety maintains high visibility to reduce crime. They respond to emergency calls, such as the several fire alarms in residential halls. Public Safety is present on campus throughout the entire calendar year, not just the academic year. This means that the college must continue to fulfill the payrolls of the 19 employees involved in the Public Safety department 12 months a year.
Chief Phillis says that it is necessary for Public Safety Officers to remain on campus the entire year in order to maintain the safety of the campus, including the summer months. Augustana entails 119 acres of land, 50 TLA houses, 13 academic buildings and 5 residential halls, all of which Public Safety must monitor in order to maintain the safety of the campus.
Chief Phillis also says that ticketing is not one of the main concerns of Public Safety. Public Safety does not waste valuable time patrolling for students parking against the rules. They do it when the rest of the work is done, and the tickets students pay are not viewed as revenue for the Public Safety budget. Ticketing is viewed as a way to modify the behavior of students. Chief Phillis says that he thinks ticketing remains an effective way of getting students to come and see the Public Safety department. He encourages students to come ask questions about their tickets rather than just paying them.
Evelyn Campbell, Dean of Students at Augustana, says that having three sworn officers and a police department on campus makes Augustana safer as a community. “(Having sworn officers) has not only allowed us to be more prepared for emergency situations, but it has also given us access to state and federal information,” states Dean Campbell.
Dean Campbell says that she also credits the safety of our campus to the students who take the initiative to make calls to Public Safety. With tuition of college so high, and rising each year, it’s important that sufficient money is spent in maintaining and improving the safety on campus. According to Phillis and Campbell, student safety is their main concern.