Section: Features

Going behind the scenes into the Office of Campus Safety

All residents of the Hill are well-acquainted with the Office of Campus Safety (Campo). We recognize the officers’ vehicles and uniforms as they continuously move throughout the campus day and night, weekday and weekend. We know there are emergency and non-emergency numbers we can call, and that they will answer almost immediately. But there are many aspects of their work that fly under most students’ radar. 

Campo is made up of 19 full- and part-time field officers and supervisors, eight full- and part-time telecommunication officers, one administrative assistant/Kenyon fleet transportation coordinator, one assistant director and one director of Campus Safety. These numbers fluctuate based on need and size of the student body. The Office of Campus Safety is also staffed every single day of the year, 24/7. 

In an email to the Collegian, Todd Bell, assistant director of Campus Safety, said that the office “responds to an average of 14,000 to 16,000 calls for service each year.” 

Some of these requests pertain to concerns with residences: being let into a dorm room when a student is locked out or buzzing a student into their residence hall if they don’t have their KCard. Other tasks include transportation; either escorts late art night or medical transport. Another type of call that students may not know they deal with are “depending on the time of day, [calls] for maintenance issues,” Bell explained. 

Phone calls to Campo are first received by a telecommunications officer. According to Bell, if the issue is not resolved over the phone, “they send field officers to the location they need to be.” 

Naturally, Campo works closely with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and Mount Vernon Fire Department in emergencies; Bell explained that Campo officers are also the first to respond to events like “criminal incidents, emergency medical incidents, hazardous incidents, potentially violent incidents [and] auto accidents.”

In order to respond to these emergencies, every officer is trained in Mental Health First Aid, Crisis Intervention Training and self-defense. Bell said, “We also have monthly training with all staff within Campus Safety that cover topics that we are involved in such as mental health, medical training, Title IX & Civil Rights and many other types.” 

In addition to their extensive training, there are also officers who were previous Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s), Emergency Medical Responders and even one former Advanced EMT.

Bell noted, “All of the Campus Safety staff receive the same training, have the same expectations and receive the same knowledge base whether you are full or part time with Campus Safety.”

Among all these standards and day-to-day tasks, Campo still encounters surprises. “One thing we know for sure is that we don’t know what each day will bring,” Bell said. “We do occasionally receive a call that most people within our department have never seen before.”

He explained that alumni often express their thanks to the office,“stating they appreciated certain interactions we have had with them while they were a student,” making Alumni Weekend very enjoyable. 

Bell shares that the Office’s favorite part of their job has always been its community, especially because the officers “get to know their [students’] perspectives and experiences on life.” He also explains that he hopes the Kenyon community “sees that Campus Safety is here to create a safe environment and be part of the education process.”

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