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MICA Takes Campus Safety to New Levels

Office’s Director Reflects on Past and New Initiatives While at the Helm

Posted 01.01.14 by mica communications

Campus Safety Director Stephen Davis in the CCTV (closed circuit television) room.

MICA's Campus Safety Off ice is committed to providing one of the best and safest environments for higher education in the country. Under the leadership of Campus Safety Director Stephen Davis, the College has adopted world-class security initiatives.

Davis joined MICA in March 2009 with more than 20 years of experience in the Baltimore City Police Department, the eighth-largest municipal police force in the United States. He most recently served as the colonel chief of the technical services division.

The police veteran had a familiarity with the College and the Bolton Hill neighborhood prior to taking the position.

His understanding of the dynamics of the community proves to be an invaluable source of reference.

The topic of safety resonates with the husband and father. Since his arrival to MICA, Davis has transformed the campus safety program into a more innovative and progressive one.

His background and relationships cultivated during his tenure with city police give him a unique understanding of how the Campus Safety Office functions in relation to the surrounding neighborhoods.

"We're looking at how one area of the city affects the trending and the crime patterns over the entire city," he said.

Davis manages a team consisting of an assistant director, administrative assistant, dispatchers, shift commanders, officers, and guards, as well as more than a dozen students that supplement and support staffing needs.

He is responsible for organizing and directing the vision, mission, and objectives of campus safety. "A typical day for me is to review and analyze crime and community incidents and develop a deployment plan, a response plan to mitigate occurrences of future incidents," Davis said. "We achieve that through a methodology called ‘Mastery of Patrol.'"

The office engages in the analysis of past and current crime and crime trends. Once analyzed, they use the best patrol practices in an effort to intentionally impact crime and the perception of crime. They not only focus on areas where there is a potential for crime to occur, but also seek to be highly visible in the areas that are of concern for the MICA community.

"We use a variety of patrol methods, such as foot, Segway, bike, and vehicle, as a means to connect to the community and respond to their needs. Every member of our staff is challenged to identify recurring problems and their potential consequences, to prioritize those problems and to develop broad goals to eliminate them," Davis said.

The office regularly works with federal and local agencies pertinent to campus safety and security, and law enforcement. Annually, staff members receive a minimum of 30 hours of training, in addition to education on emergency preparedness through national conferences, including the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Annual Conference & Exposition, and College and University Police and Investigators Conference.

Dispatchers at the College also acquire supplementary skills in public safety communications through training in the National Incident Management System of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and with the emergency dispatchers of the city police department. The yearly mandatory and recommended training ensures that campus safety management and staff are well versed on the latest policies and procedures of the industry.

MICA strives to lead the way among educational institutions in innovative campus safety policies, processes, and technologies. For example, during the 2013-2014 academic year, the office plans to release a mobile app available on Apple and Android devices.

To ensure a safe and secure campus, MICA provides medical assistance; campus courtesy phones located in all buildings; facilities management assistance; transportation assistance, including shuttles, on-campus walking escorts, vehicle assistance, and bicycle registration; parking pass registration; and MICARD, a photo identification card.

Additional services available are the Rave Guardian system, which allows registrants to be in direct contact by way of cell phone with campus safety dispatchers in the case of an emergency, and MICA Alert, a text message notification system that communicates to subscribers when an emergency occurs.

"In 2004, we had two ways of notifying the campus community in the event of an emergency that was text message and email. Today, we have upwards of 12 different ways,"Davis said.

The campus safety team continues to be the eyes and ears of the College, from regularly patrolling on campus and the surrounding neighborhood to receiving calls from the MICA community and general public.

The CCTV (closed circuit television) system plays a pivotal role in campus safety strategies and tactics. With the video surveillance technology, dispatchers are able to proactively view areas of concern campuswide in an effort to prevent crime and increase the responsive time of patrol officers.

"Most of our cameras are on areas around the entrances and exits of buildings and then in public spaces on the exterior where our students, staff, and faculty travel," Davis explained.

"Stephen brought to MICA significant professional experience working with the Baltimore Police Department, and an extraordinary understanding and engagement with the community," said Michael Molla, vice president of Operations. "Through his leadership and appreciation for students, he's initiated many forward-thinking programs, educational opportunities, and innovative partnerships, all to keep MICA safe and secure, while facilitating opportunities for students to explore Baltimore."

Image captions (top to bottom): Campus Safety Director Stephen Davis in the CCTV (closed circuit television) room; Guard Grimes assisting a MICA student and staff on campus; Security Guard Alan Grimes and former employee, Patrol Officer Antwon Stephens; and Officer Justin Taylor on a Segway.