By Pascale Anglade
Safety on and around County College of Morris is a key concern for students and a frequent discussion topic among those who take classes at night. The school offers welcoming buildings accessible to everyone, but also has a specific office assigned to address security and welfare issues of its staff, students and visitors.
Crime on a campus may be rare, but still can happen. Public Safety personnel are available to help with timely information that empowers all members of the CCM community during daily activities and in crisis situations.
“I have a far walk to my car and I’m quite paranoid about being followed,” said Vivian Burgos, a humanities and social science student who attends evening classes at CCM.
Indeed, parking lots that are not monitored can become dangerous for night students and faculty members. In view of that, Public Safety has placed surveillance cameras and emergency phones throughout the school to help secure the premises and detect any potentially harmful incident.
If a perpetrator is looking for places to attack, the cameras will alert security guards to suspicious behavior around the cars, which might help police catch suspects if anything is stolen or vandalized.
Additionally, the department is responsible to intervene in any situation involving physical harm or threat. Such intervention may include assistance from outside local enforcement agencies with which they maintain a close relationship. Among other things, they also advise and update students about the school’s safety and road closing procedures particularly during severe weather forecasts, through common electronic systems including email and voicemail.
“I definitely received Titan alert emails but I haven’t got a chance yet to visit their website,” Burgos said. Getting familiar with the school’s security procedures is definitely as important as staying informed and alert for any imminent threat other than weather.
“I wouldn’t know what to do in case of an emergency here, I guess I would call my parents” Burgos said.
Harvey Jackson, director of Public Safety, wrote in an email that security guidance is disseminated to new students at orientation through the office of Campus Life. During an annual “First Year Information” event usually held in August, newly arriving freshmen receive a head start on the school’s various programs and activities. They also get a security scoop as they pick up the student identification card, parking decal and CCM’s handbook that points to the department’s web page for detailed responses to various types of emergencies.
In fact, neither the officers, nor cameras, text alerts or else can completely protect from an armed individual bent on perpetrating a crime. Hence, Public Safety has added to their homepage the “Run, Hide, Fight” video that teach people survival tips in an active shooter situation, and a Homeland Security training video on how to react quickly in response to a bomb threat call.
“But I do feel safe here,” said Liz Koenig, a liberal arts major enrolled in evening-hours courses. “They have a call box, if I have a problem I will push the alert button for assistance.”
While CCM campus feels safe, it is never completely risk free. Public Safety encourages students to review periodically the Emergency Response Guide available online to be prepared to react to different types of situations that may present themselves.
Meanwhile, to report any urgent situation call (973) 973-328-5550 on any available phone. Inside the classroom press the security button on the Cisco phone against the wall near the door. In the hallways, find a yellow emergency call box and push the HELP button. In the parking lot use one of the phone boxes or dial 911 from own phone.
The office of Public Safety is located in the 675 Route 10 building. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including holidays, to address any concerns, questions or recommendations.