The State of the University
Reports of the President
Dr. Rodin: Over the past year, I have said repeatedly that no one can expect faculty, students, or staff to do their best work if they are afraid for their own physical safety. Starting shortly after my arrival, we have been taking significant steps to enhance that safety. Among the most important steps in this area has been the recruitment to Penn of one of the most outstanding leaders in law enforcement to be found anywhere, Tom Seamon, Penn's new Managing Director of Public Safety. Because of the overriding influence of safety and security concerns on the University's ability to achieve its academic and institutional goals, I have asked Mr. Seamon to report to us this afternoon on his appraisal of our security situation and his approach to issues of campus policing and safety.
Safety and Security: Community Policing and the Campus
by Thomas M. Seamon, Managing Director of Public Safety
First, I would like to thank Dr. Rodin for this opportunity to
address the University Council. Very briefly I would like to give you my
thoughts regarding my philosophy of public safety and some practical
considerations of policing this campus.
Penn has made great strides in the last few years in insuring that
the campus is as safe and secure as possible. An increased security
guard force, expansion of the blue light phone system, the creation of
community walks, bicycle patrols, an expanded transportation system, and
emphasis on a substantial crime prevention and victim support apparatus
are just some of the improvements that have been made. I will support
and continue to build on these and other initiatives, and I'll speak
about systems and implementation in a minute. First, I would like to say
a few words about my philosophy of policing this campus.
I whole heartedly subscribe to the philosophy of community policing
utilizing a problem-solving orientation to join the public police and
private security in a synergy to provide the highest possible level of
safety and security to the campus community.
Now, what do I mean when I say "community policing"? I mean the
police must adopt a service orientation regarding everyone who lives,
works, and visits the campus and its surrounding neighborhoods, and they
must treat all of these people as their valued customers. Recognizing
that police resources are finite and yet the demand for service is
infinite, the police must enter into a partnership with the campus
community to prioritize the use of these resources.
The University of Pennsylvania Police Department must subscribe to
the highest standards of professionalism. It must work in unison with
the private security initiatives and technology being introduced on
campus. It must maximize the cooperative relationship with the
Philadelphia Police Department; and it must be regarded as a force for
good that benefits, not only the campus, but also the larger West
The challenge of providing public safety through strong law
enforcement coupled with the latest security technology must be met
while still insuring the campus remains an open and vital community
committed to the ideal of free expression. Security technology and
staffing must be as unobtrusive and user-friendly as possible.
I believe I can achieve the goals dictated by this philosophy of
policing by implementing the following:
In closing let me say I know I have outlined an ambitious agenda,
but one I think is necessary and is well within the grasp of the
University. I truly believe the University Police possess the potential
to be a model for police around the country, and the envisioned public
safety system for Penn can set national standards. It is this belief
that brought me to Penn.
- Develop an overall integrated delivery system for safety and
security, that better utilizes the existing resources being spent by the
center and the schools and insures a high quality, consistent system to
the consumers of security services on and off campus.
- Improve the professional standards and performance of the
University Police by improving the present facilities and equipment,
pursuing an aggressive training and development program, and achieving
national accreditation for the police department.
- Improve the performance of the contract guard services on
campus. The University needs competent guard personnel, trained and
supervised by Public Safety Division staff.
- Partner the University with several security technology
providers to build a state of the art electronic security infrastructure
for the campus. This would include alarm systems, access control
systems, closed circuit television monitoring, and blue light phones and
other communication systems.
- Clarify and standardize the working relationship between the
Philadelphia Police and the University Police to avoid duplication of
effort and position the University Police with the authority and the
ability to provide total police services regardless of the constantly
changing priorities, and the level of resources, of the Philadelphia
- Continue ongoing improvement of lighting on and off campus,
working with the City government to support their areas of
- Continue to improve the already excellent victim support
- Cultivate the relationship between the University Police and
the surrounding West Philadelphia community and townwatch groups.
Strong community involvement will contribute to overall safety and
- Encourage involvement and a high level of service provision
from Philadelphia City government departments such as the Deputy
Managing Director for Special Housing Needs, License and Inspection
Department, and the Streets Department.
- Through education, remind everyone in the Penn community of
their personal responsibility to contribute to a safe, secure
(To next page of reports.)
Tuesday, November 14, 1995
Volume 42 Number 12
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