BY DANIELLE FRANCISCO
Campus safety varies from campus to campus depending on the size and mutual service arrangements that exist in their home communities.
Some colleges, like Rutgers, Rowan and The College of New Jersey, have their own fully-formed police departments. Campuses like County College of Morris (CCM) and Sussex County College (SCCC) leverage the resources of local cops to keep their campus safe.
CCM contacts the Randolph Police Department (RPD) when crimes occur on campus, according to Detective Lieutenant Christopher Giuliani, who is a Public Information Officer with the RPD.
“Most are minor thefts, some domestic violence,” Giuliani said. “We also respond to public assistance calls, such as accidents, people in crisis, and EMS calls.”
The Newton Police Department Chief Michael Richards said he had similar calls from the SCCC, which is in Newton.
“There really isn’t much criminal activity on campus,” Richards said. “However, we occasionally will have thefts and/or burglaries and parking complaints. Most of our responses are probably due to medical related calls for service or minor motor vehicle accidents.”
The influx of commuter students can be a boon for local businesses in a host community, but the increased number of people can also bring the potential for increased crime and first responder calls.
“The only negative impact the campus population has on the Township of Randolph would be traffic volume during peak school hours,” said Assistant Director of Public Safety at the County College of Morris John Fichter.
The Public Safety Department, according to Fichter, is part of the County College Business and Finance Division. The department is responsible for keeping the CCM president aware of all emergency responses and crime related incidents on campus. They also report all criminal and hazardous conditions on campus to the Randolph Police and local emergency first responders.
While CCM has its own department strictly for keeping the campus safe, SCCC depends on the town police to look after the campus.
“The Newton Police Department is the main law enforcement entity for the campus of the Sussex County Community College,” Richards said. “However, they also employ people to oversee their security operations and emergency planning. Newton Police Officers regularly perform vehicular and foot patrols on campus and maintain relationships with students and staff.”
Some of CCM public safety personnel also come from the force.
“Two of them, including the assistant director, were police officers in this agency,” Richards said.
There is no written memorandum of understanding between the administration of CCM and the Randolph Police Department, but that doesn’t stop them from working together on cases. A memorandum of understanding is a formal agreement organizations. Companies and organizations can use them to establish partnerships but they are not legally binding.
“The college is always a pleasure to work with,” said Giuliani. “They are pretty self-sufficient, but when we need to work together on something, it always runs smooth.”
The Newton Police Department, however, does have an understanding when it comes to working with SCCC.
“We have a Memorandum of Understanding with the college, which memorializes our relationship as it pertains to public safety,” Richards said.
While neither Giuliani nor Richards say crime has increased due to the college being in the town, they do both agree that the volume of students, staff and visitors bring into the community has the potential to increase the likelihood that a theft or a car accident might occur.