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Public Safety aids campus community

By Lorelei Goff
On January 26, 2014

In addition to the responsibility of being the agency that responds first for emergencies on or close to campus, Public Safety offers a variety of services to students, faculty and staff.
Public Safety operates several special programs, including Operation ID, which is a theft prevention program that maintains serial numbers and detailed descriptions of personal property; the GOTCHA program in which Public Safety officers place cards on untended property; and the Rape Aggression Defense program, which teaches several proven techniques for surviving violent encounters.
"[Crime] is just something that people don't really think about till something happens," ETSU Public Safety Lt. Michael Orr said. "You need to get into the mindset of, 'This is what I'm going to do if this happens.'"
Public Safety also jump starts cars whose batteries have died.
"My friend's car wouldn't start," Laura Haynes, a 20-year-old communication student. "We called them, they came over and jump started it."
Mike Lewis is the security director of SOF Security Specialists Inc., a Piney Flats company that provides security analyses and recommendations for public and private institutions. ETSU is not a client of SOF, but Lewis compared Public Safety very favorably with other higher education campuses.
"The Public Safety at ETSU is a very good police organization," Lewis said. "They train a lot. They're proactive. All the guys there are deeply concerned with their clients, which are the students."
Orr emphasized that personnel are highly trained, state-certified police officers and said that he is proud of the department's two- to three-minute average response time.
"The title Public Safety simply means that we're cross-trained as police officers, firemen, and we have some first-responder training," Orr said.
"That's where the term public safety comes from."
In addition to the department personnel, ETSU employs private security from Axis Security of Johnson City in the residence halls and for large events.
Orr described the ETSU campus as a small city and said that the type of calls the department receives is similar to what any municipal police department would respond to. Call volume ranges from 300-400 calls per month.
He said one of the best safety resources for the ETSU community is the department's website:
"Become aware of what's there, what's available, the resources that you can tap into," said Orr.
"We've got crime prevention brochures on our website that cover everything from theft to harassment."

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