Public safety has awareness event
First annual expo helps students
Issue date: 10/1/10 Section: News
The first annual expo marks the first academic year that Drexel Police will provide 24-hour police protection.
Domenic Ceccanecchio, senior associate vice president of Public Safety, said that it took a year and a half of hiring to build up the police force to full strength. "We staggered hiring over the length of over a year in order to make sure we got the best police officers available," Ceccanecchio explained.
The force, now with 33 sworn officers, patrols the area between 30th and 36th Streets and Spring Garden to Chestnut Streets.
Ceccanecchio added, in addition to the 24-hour police patrols, Public Safety operates over 400 cameras and access points throughout Drexel's three campuses.
Cathleen O'Malley, a freshmen biomedical engineering major, was surprised to hear that Public Safety had so many resources at hand. "I definitely will feel safer on campus and especially off campus at night knowing there's so much out there keeping us safe," O'Malley said.
Joe Spera, public safety director of operations, wants the expo to introduce new and returning students to services offered to them by Public Safety. "There are programs we have, like bike registration and walking escorts, that have been available for several years that many students just don't know about. I think the best way to get the word out about these programs is through face-to-face interaction like this expo," Spera said.
Throughout the three-hour expo, two Drexel Police officers registered more than two dozen bikes at the expo. Bikes owned by a Drexel student can be registered Mon.-Fri. from 8 to 4 p.m. at the Public Safety building at 118 N. 34 Street.
Another goal of the Public Safety Department is to promote student awareness and involvement in order to make the campus safer. "One of our strategies to accomplish our public safety goals has been to institute educational programs throughout the Drexel community. Events like the expo, coupled with outreach by the police department, aim to create a partnership between us and the public in order to increase safety," Chief Spangler, director of Drexel Police, said.
He explained that simple things, like registering a bike and using walking escorts help deter crime.
When asked about the multiple high profile crimes around campus this past summer, Ceccanecchio explained that Drexel and its students are part of the bigger community of University City and West Philadelphia. "We do not live in a bubble; thousands of people travel through our campus every day. Unfortunately, some view students as vulnerable and try to take advantage of them. That is where an educated, involved student body can continue to help us make campus safer and safer," Ceccanecchio said.
A new addition to the Public Safety Department present at the expo was an EMS student group. Dominic DeAngelo, a senior biology major and Billy Messerschmidt, a junior criminal justice major, worked with Ceccanecchio last year to found the group.
"Billy and I had the initial idea because we both became certified emergency responders in high school and thought that we could use it to contribute to campus," DeAngelo said.
The group, which currently consists of 14 members, first appeared on campus during the 2010 commencement at the DAC and recently worked during dorm move in weekend.
"Our goal is to have enough members to be able to have two members on the weekends and then possibly all week," Messerschimidt said.
Drexel EMS can be reached through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.