Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mass Notification Test Scheduled

On Thursday October 2nd at 12:05 pm we are going to test the College's emergency notification system. This system will allow us to contact all Mount Holyoke community members by text message, cell phone or email in the event of a critical incident on campus.

For more information about the Mount Holyoke emergency notification system, see We will only use this system for serious campus emergencies in which the safety and wellbeing of community members may be in jeopardy.

We currently have an email address on record for every member of the community. However, we believe that emergency notification will be more timely and effective if we can send automated alerts either by text message or cell phone call, rather than relying solely on email. Therefore, we encourage all community members ensure that their personal contact information on file with the College is up to date. Students may do so via ISIS by logging in at and selecting "Student Profile" from the ISIS for Students menu. Members of the faculty and staff should contact Human Resources.

Please update your information by Wednesday September 24th.

Friday, September 12, 2008

SGA Ride Van

Starting on Thursday 9/18, the new SGA Safe Ride Van will start for the academic year.

At this time, the shuttle will run only Thursdays-Saturdays from 10pm-2:30am. This excludes college break and extremely inclement weather.

If you are interested in become a driver, please contact the Fleet Office or Public Safety. If we can recruit more drivers, we will be able to run the service more during the week.

The shuttle will be on a loop system on campus. The van will arrive at its assigned stop every 30 minutes. The stops are:
  1. 1837/Mandelle Lot, waiting area at the lamp post near the blue light phone
  2. Chapin Rd (for the Rockies & Mary Woolley Hall), waiting area at the PVTA bus stop
  3. Gateway Rd (for Brigham & the Library), waiting area at the speed limit sign on right
  4. Gateway Rd (for Psych & Ed Building), waiting area at the lamp post
  5. Dunlap Place (for the Betty Shabazz Center), waiting area at the blue light phone
  6. Equestrian Center Drive (for the Equ Ctr/Lot), waiting area at the blue light phone
  7. Park St/Ham/McG Drive (for Ham/McGregor), waiting area at the lamp post on left
  8. Lower Lake Rd (for the Art Museum area), waiting area at the PVTA bus stop
  9. Lower Lake Rd (for the rear of Blanchard), waiting area at the blue light phone
  10. Blanchard Circle (for Mead & Wilder), waiting area at the lamp post on the right
  11. Faculty Lane (for Dickinson Hall), waiting area at the blue light phone
  12. Gorse Lot Front, waiting area at the blue light phone
  13. Gorse Lot Rear, waiting area at the blue light phone
  14. *Fleet Parking lot, waiting area at the blue light phone

*The SGA Ride Van does not usually go into the Fleet Vehicle parking lot. However, drivers who are returning fleet vehicles between 10pm-2:30am, can be picked up in this lot by calling Public Safety dispatch, who will radio the van driver to go into this lot on the next circuit.

The Safe Ride Van is for safety purposed for MHC students traveling alone & has limited capacity. If you are going to your final destination in a group, please do not ask for a ride.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Public Safety on the Green

Officer Cournoyer, Officer Smith and the departments Outreach Coordinator Elizabeth, were hosting a table on the green last week to promote all that Public Safety does on campus.

Keep an eye out for other events! If you're lucky, you may obtain a FREE lockout card!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Safety Alert

This afternoon a student reported being assaulted last night (Saturday) at about 11:45 pm outside of Blanchard near the patio door facing the bus stop. The male approached her and asked her to take him to her room. When she declined, he grabbed her arm and attempted to pull her away. The student was able to break away and was then struck by the male’s hand. Two other students came out of the Blanchard door and the male ran off towards Lower Lake Road.

The description of the suspect reported by the student is an African American Male, 20 to 25 year old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, slender, 140- 160 lbs, with a mole on his right hand by the ring finger. When he was last seen he was wearing a red and white polo shirt and baggy jeans. We will post a composite picture of the suspect tomorrow on the Public Safety web site. Updates will be posted to our web site if we develop any new information.

Public Safety is asking for assistance from the community to identify this individual. Anyone who was in the area of Blanchard last night or has information about this crime should contact Public Safety at 538-2304. Officers are on duty 24 hours a day to respond to community concerns. If you need support call Counseling Services at 538-2037. Working together we can keep the community safe. This Public Safety alert is provided in compliance with the Clery Law.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Car Break-Ins

Recently, there have been vehicles broken into in campus parking lots and items left in the vehicles were stolen, specifically GPS devices.

Thieves are generally looking for items easy to grab that they can see through a car window. Please do not leave any items of value or potential value in the passenger area of your vehicle, especially music devices, GPS units, money, and other easy-to-remove items. If such items must be left in your car, lock them in the trunk where they are less likely to be seen.

When parking your car, call Public Safety at x1-911 or utilize an emergency phone if you see anyone suspicious. Suspicious behavior includes someone 'hanging out' in the lot, someone sitting in a car for a length of time, someone looking into vehicles, or someone you just feel seems out of place.

Public Safety has increased patrols of campus parking lots and is checking with area police departments to see if other campuses and town departments have had any similar incidents and to share information.

Officers are on duty twenty-four (24) hours a day to respond to incidents and to give assistance. Crime prevention is everyone's responsibility. Working together we can keep the campus safe.

Please visit the Public Safety website at for more crime prevention tips.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Police Academy Graduation

Over the summer, Public Safety had two Officers complete the Massachusetts State Police Academy. When you see Officer Smith and Officer Ryan, please give them a nice welcome back and a hearty congratulations.

Officer Smith was happy to share her photos from graduation. If you were ever interested in seeing what a graduation would be like from the police academy, here is a small glance.

Color guard and cadets all lined up in formation

Officer Smith receiving her congrats from Chief Ominsky

All the cadets in formation

Officer Smith and Chief Ominsky after the ceremony

Chief Ominsky, Officer Smith, Officer Ryan and Associate Director Arrighi after the ceremony

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to all of those who are returning to campus! Also, Welcome to Mount Holyoke College to those who will be here for the first time this academic year!

We are all excited to have a new academic year upon us. Please take the time to review all of Public Safety's safety tips, view the upcoming list of events and everything else you may want to check out on the blog or the website.

Again, we are excited to have everyone on campus and good luck to everyone!

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Addition!

Introducing, the new cruiser (Ford Taurus). It is replacing the Crown Vic cruiser.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Be Safe!

Its that time of year, you are getting your travel plans all set to head back to campus. There are many ways to get to MHC, but make sure you are safe while traveling.

Here are some links to help with your travel-

Student & Youth Travel Tips

TSA Tips

International Travel Tips

See you all soon!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Administrative Changes

Mount Holyoke continuously looks for ways to strengthen ties within the Five Colleges and identify collaborative arrangements that provide a high level of service and increased effectiveness and efficiency at a cost affordable to the college. Effective July 1, 2008, MHC entered into such an agreement with Hampshire for joint campus public safety services under the leadership of Paul Ominsky who is the current Director of Public Safety at Mount Holyoke. Hampshire's public safety officers and dispatchers have become employees of Mount Holyoke. They will continue, however, to serve the Hampshire campus as they always have. At Mount Holyoke, the level of service provided by the Department of Public Safety will be unchanged, as will our staffing levels.

We are excited about this new collaborative initiative. Director Ominsky also currently supervises the Smith College public safety force. We expect that the extension of this collaborative to include Hampshire will present opportunities for coordination, cross-training, and mutual support among the three campuses.

This arrangement brings an immediate benefit to Mount Holyoke. For example, we will have greater staff resources available to help at such busy times as Halloween and Commencement. Meanwhile, our officers will continue to be part of a police force accredited by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, a status indicative of the force's meeting or exceeding rigorous national standards for public safety.

Other exciting news from Public Safety includes the graduation of two of our officers, Theresa Ryan and Megan Smith, from the Special State Police academy. Theresa was elected president of her class, and Megan received an award for highest academic standing in the class. Theresa will be training and working on the overnight shift, and Megan will be training and working on the day shift.

Source: MHC News Office

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The New Dorm

The New Dorm is almost ready for the fall opening. The construction is done, the rooms are almost complete, the installation of the hardware and wiring is taking place and then the furnishings will come. The only thing is, it still doesn't have a name. We will be sure to let you know when that happens. Until then, enjoy some of the pictures our photographer friend was able to capture for us to share.

Front entrance on Lower Lake Rd

View from inside looking out over the front entrance

Friday, July 11, 2008

Medical Emergency Procedures

For any on-campus emergency, dial x1-911.

From a cell phone dial (413) 538-2304.

A medical emergency can occur anywhere on campus. The reaction of the victim or those around her/him can ensure quick arrival of trained emergency personnel.

What to do if someone is injured or becomes ill:

  • Stay Calm.
  • Dial 1-911 (413-538-2304 from a cell phone) and explain the type of emergency, the location of the victim and the condition of the victim. Let the dispatcher know of any safety hazards - chemical spill, fire, fumes, etc.
    • Be sure to tell the dispatcher if the person is unconscious, not breathing, is bleeding profusely or has chest pain. These all cause the dispatcher to summon an ambulance.
  • Do not hang up unless told to do so by the dispatcher.
  • Do not move the victim unless there is danger of further injury if s/he is not moved.
  • Do not give victim anything to eat or drink.

Department of Public Safety Officers are trained as Massachusetts First Responders. All officers receive annual re-certification in CPR and use of the department's Automatic External Defibrillators. Officers may be augmented by members of the student Medical Emergency Response Team who are trained as EMT-Basics and as First Responders.

Public Safety and the MERT Team provide triage and emergency medical care. Public Safety can provide access to ambulance service as well as transportation for community members, as appropriate, to the college's Health Center.

If you have a medical condition that might require special knowledge by our staff, please contact Director Paul Ominsky or Associate Director Barbara Arrighi to discuss your situation. See also our Assistance Program for Students With Disabilites for more details.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fire Procedures

For any on-campus emergency, dial x1-911.
From a cell phone dial (413) 538-2304.

Fire and the associated dangers of smoke, structural damage, or toxic releases can pose serious threats of injury and death to students, employees, visitors, and emergency response personnel. In order to control a fire and minimize its damage, the following steps should be taken immediately:
* Leave the area at once.
* Pull the fire alarm.
* Alert other people in the area and instruct them to leave the building.
* Close, DO NOT LOCK, all doors and windows if you can safely do so to help contain the fire.
* Stay as low as possible to avoid smoke and heat.
* Evacuate the building calmly, but quickly, following evacuation and assembly procedures posted in the building.
* Do not use elevators.
* Go directly to the designated assembly area and await additional instructions. Report anyone who is missing and who was in your classroom or area when the evacuation began to the Building Captain.
* Call 1-911 from a safe location. .
* Remain at the assembly area until you are instructed how to proceed by the Public Safety staff or South Hadley Fire Department official.

If Trapped:

1. Alert emergency responders of your location by whistling, shouting or using an object to beat on walls, floor in a rhythmic manner.
2. If a telephone is available, call extension 1-911 (413-538-2304 from a cell phone) and notify the Public Safety Personnel of your location; you may also place an article of clothing or other device to use as a signal in a window, if a window is available.
3. Stuff material in door cracks to minimize smoke and try to stay low, near the floor, where heat, smoke, and contaminants may be less.
4. If you are injured, tend to injuries.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What to do if you see a disturbance?

For any on-campus emergencey, dial x1-911
From a cell phone dial (413) 538-2304.


1. Get a description of the person(s) causing the disturbance.

2. Gather key details of what happened.

3. Call Public Safety at x 2304 or 1-911, then give your name, telephone number, location and the nature of the disturbance.

Actions Faculty Can Take for Classroom Disturbances

1. Direct the disruptive person(s) to leave the classroom.

2. If the person(s) does not leave, have the situation reported to the Public Safety Department at x 2304 or 1-911 giving the name of the caller, telephone number, location, and nature of the disturbance.

3. If the safety of the others is threatened, dismiss the class.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Earthquake Procedures

For any on-campus emergency, dial x1-911
From a cell phone dial (413) 538-2304

Earthquakes are one of the most potentially damaging emergencies the campus will face. The potential coexistence of other disasters with earthquakes, such as fires, natural gas line ruptures, power outages, and ground failures add to the potential for catastrophic damage to campus and the surrounding area. Organizations are expected to be self-sufficient up to 3 days following a major earthquake, without government agency or utility company response. In the event of an earthquake

If Inside:

1. Take cover under a desk or table and hold on. If your cover moves, move with it. Brace in a doorway if cover is not available -- be cautious of swinging doors and people traffic. Avoid outside or high-use doorways.
2. Stay away from windows and objects that could fall.
3. If in a theater or lecture hall, stay in your seat or get under it, if possible. Protect your head with your arms.
4. When shaking stops, move cautiously outside. Be careful of falling building materials or uneven ground. When outside, move away from the building.
5. Proceed to a designated assembly point, or if unsafe, an alternate assembly point. Remain for further instruction.
6. Instructors and supervisors: Notify the Public Safety of anyone unaccounted for from your area.

7. Notify Public Safety at x2304 or 1-911 (dial 413-538-2304 from a cell phone) if there are any injuries or any damage to a building.


If Outside:

1. Move away from buildings, overhead lines, poles, or other objects that could fall or move abruptly (vehicles & equipment).
2. Get low to the ground and protect your head with your arms.
3. DO NOT stand or take shelter under covered walkways.


1. Proceed to the designated assembly area and WAIT.
2. Be prepared for after-shocks.
3. If you suspect gas, electrical or other problems, notify campus officials.

In Case of Major Disaster:

1. The Campus Emergency Response System will be initiated.
2. Wait at your designated assembly point until you receive further instructions or until you are scheduled to report for a pre-designated responsibility.
3. Follow instructions from college and emergency officials.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Animal Bites Procedures

For any on-campus emergency, dial x1-911.
From a cell phone dial (413) 538-2304

1. CONTROL BLEEDING: If bleeding, apply continuous pressure for 5-10 minutes. If bleeding is not controlled, seek medical assistance immediately (see #4 below).

2. CLEANSE WOUND: Wash all wounds immediately with soap or detergent solution and a high volume of water for at least 5 minutes, 10 minutes if extensive or extremely dirty. Primate bites require special care. Scrub with a solution such as chlorhexidine for 15 minutes under high volume of running water.

3. REPORT BITE: Report bite to your supervisor and to Public Safety (x2304).

4. SEEK MEDICAL FOLLOW-UP: Students: Go to the Health Center. For After Hours Care: Call Pulic Safety at x2304. Employees: Contact your health care provder.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Safety Alerts

When something major occurs on campus and we want everyone to know what to watch out for to help keep themselves safe, a safety alert is posted.

The safety alert is posted on the Public Safety website and flyer's are posted around campus. Also, you can check back here to get the information too. At this time there are no safety alerts, but if you want to check out previous ones, click on this link to safety alerts.

The alerts range from car break-ins to bike thefts to sexual assaults. So, please do not ignore these alerts since they do inform the community of important information.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Whats your patch?

Have you seen our wall of Police Department patches? If not, feel free to check it out. Its in our main hallway and we love to have visitors.

After you scan the wall and if you notice your hometown Police Department is not there, feel free to send us one. We would display it proudly for everyone to see. We love to receive new and exciting patches to display!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blue Light Phones

I'm sure you've seen these yellow boxes all around campus, but you may not know what they are for. Well, let me tell you that they are the campuses Emergency Blue Light Phones.

The phones are directly linked to Public Safety, as long as you press the red button to make the call. You use these phones for times when you feel unsafe on campus or witness an event that you want Public Safety to know about right away.

These phones are all over campus, near buildings, in parking lots and on walk-ways. So, keep that in mind next time you need to contact Public Safety in an instant.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bicycle Removal Efforts

Tis' the season for tagging and removing unregistered bicycles from campus. If you bike was tagged with a bright orange notice and you are indeed a current student, please stop by the Parking Office, which is located in Public Safety, to register your bicycle before it is removed from campus. Removal will start shortly. Registration is *FREE*!

If you are off campus and may have forgotten to register your bike before you left, contact the Parking Office at 413-538-2514.

If you have graduated, but left your bike on campus and would like to retrieve it, please stop by and do so! If you have graduated and you no longer want the bike, it will be considered abanded and then removed.

The reason bikes are removed from campus, its to make room for the registered ones and the additional bikes that will appear in the fall.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Don't be shy, stop by!

If you have a comment, question, need to make a report or want to request a dorm safety program please do not hesitate and stop by. Public Safety is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for you! This includes holidays, campus "shut downs" and over the summer.

You can also call us too! If you are on campus, our extension is 2304 and from off campus you can reach us by dialing 413-538-2304.

If you want to schedule a dorm safety workshop, ask for Officer Cournoyer-Cronk. She will check her schedule and get back to you as soon as possible with her availability.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lost or Stolen Wallet?

A lost or stolen wallet is quite simply a nightmare. With the growing crime of identity theft, a lost wallet is now more than ever something to guard against. Below are some tips that can help minimize the damage.

Be Prepared! By taking these few simple steps you can respond quickly if your wallet or purse is ever lost or stolen:

Make photocopies of the contents of your wallet. Be sure to copy both the front and back of any double sided items - your license, credit cards, debit card, etc. Make sure account numbers and the customer service telephone numbers are legible, and store this list in a secure place that you can get to fast in the event of a loss (home and office).

Do NOT carry documents you do not need with you. Do not carry your birth certificate or social security card except when they are specifically needed. These items are pure gold to an identity thief. Store them safely in a place other than your wallet.

Make photocopies of the contents of your wallet. Be sure to copy both the front and back of any double sided items - your license, credit cards, debit card, etc. Make sure account numbers and the customer service telephone numbers are legible, and store this list in a secure place that you can get to fast in the event of a loss (home and office).

If your wallet or purse is stolen, immediately:

Cancel your credit cards and notify your bank (call the customer service numbers on your list). Note the date and time and ask the person you speak with to fax you confirmation of your report. This can serve as proof that you took all responsible steps to minimize the loss as your contract probably requires you to.

File a police report (on campus, contact Public Safety) in the jurisdiction where your purse or wallet was stolen. This marks the date and time for the credit card investigators.

Call the three national credit reporting organizations to place a fraud alert on your name and social security number.

Most importantly, be informed about identity theft!

Unlimited information exists on how to survive identity theft and how to protect yourself. The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation features helpful information on their website: The Federal Trade Commission also has dedicated an entire site to helping consumers understand and prevent this crime:

Keep your eye on your local news for cases that could be impacting you and take action promptly.

Thanks to the Massachusetts RMV for these tips!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lost & Found

Among other things, the Public Safety dispatch center collects the lost & found items for the campus. Other departments do collect items but eventually everything makes its way to our collection.

Excepted collected items we have in our center-
Cell Phones
Keys (from dorm keys to car keys)
MP3 players
One Cards
Cred/Debit Cards
Insurance Cards

There are a few items we cannot collect due to sanitary concerns.
Those items are-
Water Bottles
Travel Mugs

So, if you've lost something always check with us first. We may not have it right away since sometimes it takes a little while for your item to be found, but make sure to give us a call when you've noticed something has been lost.

Friday, June 13, 2008

What do the officers do?

Many people wonder what Public Safety Officers do on campus. The most important thing officers do is protect & maintain a safe environment on our campus.

The officers patrol the campus 24/7 while checking parking lots, buildings and other campus property to make sure everything is safe & working as they should be. If something out of the ordinary is found, our officers take care of it in a professional & courteous manner.

Other Duties-
Ride Card Transports
Safety Transports after midnight until dawn
Lockouts (as long as its your area for example, your dorm room or classroom)
Jump starts for your vehicles dead battery (while you are on campus)
Vehicle Lockouts (while you are on campus)
And many other things!

Community Programs-
RAD Self Defence Classes
Dorm Activities for Personal Safety
Vehicle Maintenance Programs
Alcohol Awareness
And many other things that may arise

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wanna know what's going on?

If you want to know what's going on in Public Safety, you know, the calls the officers respond too and other things, check out the daily logs! They are updated, well daily! They are posted on the Public Safety website too!

So, if you were ever curious what our fanatic officers are up to, check it out. The log is always posted in the MHC News, but this is a quicker way to find out what you need to know.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Commencement 2008

It is hard to believe how quickly this year seemed to go by. Like the old song, "Make new friends and keep the old," we will miss our friends in the Class of 2008, but we look forward to meeting new friends in the Class of 2012.

We thought you might like to see some photos from Commencement morning where some awards were presented.Above is Paul Ominsky, Director of Public Safety, with Caralie '08 as she is surprised with our Community Service Award for her very hard work in assisting our department to become re-accredited this past year.
Kathryn '08 (right in photo) was also presented with a Community Service Award for her leadership on the MHC student Medical Emergency Response Team.

And just for fun, we thought we'd share a photo of Officers Jeff and Greg taking advantage of the beautiful weather on their commute to work.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Crime Prevention Tip #4

Keep it With You...

This time of year, there's a lot to do. Exams, papers, etc. It is tempting when you need a break to leave everything where you were working so it will be waiting for you when you've returned.

However, this time of year is when we take many more reports of thefts - especially backpacks, wallets, iPods, cell phones and laptops. Common locations for these thefts are the public areas of the Library, Blanchard, and the common areas of the residence halls.

So, to avoid losing valuable work or risk losing your money or personal items:
  • do not leave any property unattended for any length of time
  • if you must leave your property, have a friend watch it for you
  • store any valuables, including money, laptops, electronic devices and cell phones, in a locked area when they are not with you
  • If you own an iPod or other mp3 player, be sure to put your name in the owner information. If it is found and turned in to Public Safety we can identify it as yours and get it back to you
  • If something is stolen, report it to Public Safety as soon as possible. Also take note as to whether there are any suspicious persons in the area where your theft occurred.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Crime Prevention Tip of the Week #3

Get help fast!

In order to reach Public Safety quickly in case of emergency, program our phone number into your cell phone:

(413) 538-2304

That way, you can reach us quickly regardless of where you are on campus for help.

Keep in mind that the quicker you are able to alert us to a crime or potentially dangerous situation, the more quickly we can respond. Be sure to call us as soon as possible if:
  • you are the victim of, or are aware of, a crime on campus
  • you see something suspicious (please be prepared to provide a full description and detail what about the situation caused you to notify us)
  • you notice a safety hazard on campus - exterior doors that do not shut or lock; the odor of natural gas, someone who appears to be 'checking out' cars in a parking lot, etc.
  • any other safety concern on campus

We'd rather hear from you and determine that everything is fine than not hear from you and potentially lose the chance to prevent a crime from occurring.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Emergency Notification System Tested

Did you get the call?

Yesterday at 4:00pm the College tested its new emergency notification system. A message was sent by text message, cell phone call or email for every student, faculty and staff member.

3,304 total contacts were made by the system. Because it was a test, the system requires an acknowledgment of the receipt of the message. 1,051 messages were acknowledged.

Feedback after the test was extremely helpful. There was some confusion for those who were responding to a voice mail or cell phone message and were calling back to the call center. The passcode required is "1837" for all users. Text message responses will require a different passcode. (Generally an acknowledgment is required only during tests of the system.)

If you did not get a message yesterday afternoon, please check your emergency contact information. If you are a student, log into ISIS. If you are an employee, check your information with Human Resources.

The emergency notification system will be used only in emergencies in which the safety or wellbeing of members of the community may be in jeopardy, and through three tests each year. Assuring you always have up-to-date information through ISIS or Human Resources is vital in allowing you to receive important information in the event of an emergency.

More information can be found at

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Crime Prevention Tip of the Week #2 - Lock your Door

Several incidents occurred this year in which students were victims of crimes which may have been prevented by a simple step - locking their residence room door. Many students reported they were gone only long enough to take a shower, visit a friend down the hall, or use the restroom.

In this academic year, we have had numerous thefts from residence hall rooms, one sexual assault perpetrated by a male who is believed to have entered an unlocked room, and an unknown male walked in on a student while she was sleeping. In one case last fall, a homeless man was arrested after he entered several rooms and areas in Porter Hall attempting to find unattended cash.

Despite attempts by the college to provide locks on the outside doors of residence halls, put card access on exterior doors, and provide locks for ground floor windows, crimes still occur in residence halls. Some crimes have committed by fellow students or by visitors of fellow students; a few were committed by currently unknown persons.

Regardless of the perpetrator, a locked door can go a long way toward protecting you and your valuables. Laptop computers and iPods are easy targets for thieves as they are easy to carry and can be easily sold. These items have not only academic but personal importance to their owners, and are expensive to replace. Most certainly, no one wants to be the victim of an assault or worse.

Additionally, members of the community should be very careful not to prop open exterior doors or leave ground floor windows unlocked. If a door is found propped open, un-prop it; if a window can not be locked, contact Public Safety. If you see someone suspicious in or near a residence hall, contact Public Safety at x2304, or dial 1-911. (From a cell phone call us at (413) 538-2304.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Are Public Safety's Officers "Real" Officers?

We get this question often. The short answer is yes. There are many types of police, public safety and security departments at colleges, dependent upon the range of services each college chooses to or is able to provide for their community.

Private colleges and universities in Massachusetts can elect, as Mount Holyoke College has, to have their officers sworn as Special State Police Officers under Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 22C s. 63. This law allows duly appointed officers the same power to make arrests as municipal police officers for any criminal offense committed in or upon lands or structures owned, used or occupied by such college.

Hiring and re-appointment of our officers is governed by the Massachusetts Code of Massachusetts Regulations, and hold our officers to a very high standard of training and re-training. For example, an officer can not be appointed as a sworn officer on our campus unless s/he has a Full-Time Academy OR a part-time academy PLUS a minimum of an Associates Degree in Law Enforcement or Criminal Justice.

This standard includes hiring and on-going training for our part-time officers who work an average of once a week. This affects our recruitment efforts; a new part-time academy graduate can work for a municipality but is not eligible to work for our department. However, when they have completed the additional requirements, we are able to hire more experienced and educated officers - if they have not already developed in-roads to a municipal department. (Though we personally believe this is the best community to work in, with more opportunities to learn and to work with a diverse and active student and employee population!)

Officers, once appointed, can make full custody arrests for violations of Massachusetts and Federal Law. Of course, this is a small percentage of what our officers do - officers spend much more time patrolling the campus, investigating incidents (both criminal and non-criminal), providing services such as medical transportation, lockouts, responding to medical emergencies, and many other responsibilities. But when a crime occurs and a suspect is identified, officers are there if needed to make the arrest and see the case through the judicial system.

If you would like to see how much officers do during the year, visit our web site and go to the Publications page. Check out our annual report. We expect to publish our 2007 annual report this July. You can see a daily accounting of incidents reported to the department by visiting our daily logs, or see each call officers answer by checking our dispatch logs.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why Does Public Safety have that Big SUV? Why not be Green?

This is a wonderful question, and one which we are happy to answer.

Public Safety currently operates one Chevrolet Tahoe (SUV) and one Ford Crown Victoria (sedan). Gas mileage is a big consideration when replacing a vehicle.

It may surprise our readers to learn that the Tahoe, according to estimates on the Chevrolet web site, averages 19-20 miles per gallon. The Crown Victoria, according to Ford's web site, averages 18 miles per gallon. This surprised us when we started researching fuel-efficient vehicles several years ago. Of course, mileage varies with adding equipment, and we don't operate on the highway very often, but certainly even if the gas mileages estimated by the manufacturers are off by a mile or two per gallon, the two vehicles are still very comparable.

The SUVs (Tahoes) have a marked advantage over the sedan-type cruisers. Our officers carry quite a bit of equipment, including keys, paperwork, an AED, motor vehicle battery packs, full medical kits, and more. We also very often have passengers, some of whom are on crutches, and the Crown Victoria does not have the same passenger and cargo capacity.

Another important consideration is that our vehicles must be operable 24x7, seven days a week despite the weather. The Crown Victoria has to be parked if the roadways are snow-covered as they do not have the traction the SUVs have. Due to these benefits, we are actually planning on replacing the Crown Victoria we currently own with a second Tahoe as we had two years ago; the benefits are just too important to providing continuous service to our community.

The Department is researching SUV hybrid options, to join those in the college's Fleet. However, the costs are significantly higher than the costs for traditional SUVs which would put too much stress on the college's already escalating vehicle replacement budget.

Additionally, we try to further reduce fuel costs by providing a variety of other methods of patrol, including foot patrol and bicycle patrol, fueled only by human effort, and Segway patrol, fueled by an on-board electric battery. The only down side to these methods is they are weather-dependent to some degree, and depend on having enough staffing to be able to efficiently respond to emergencies.

Public Safety's current Chevy Tahoe.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Crime Prevention Tip of the Week

Keep Your Bike - Lock it Up.

In 2007, 22 bicycles were stolen from outside bike racks and other areas - only two were believed to have been locked at the time of the theft. An additional 8 bicycles were stolen from inside bike rooms, again only 2 were believed to have been locked.

Of the 30 bicycles stolen in that year, 16, or just over half of the bicycles reported stolen, were found somewhere on campus other than where the owner had parked it. Officers are still on the look-out for the other bicycles.

You can save yourself from the inconvenience of having to go without your bicycle, as well as the burden of the cost of replacement, but securing your bicycle with a sturdy U-Type lock. More tips can be found online at

Be sure to register your bicycle. It is free, and it will prevent it from being removed from campus by the College in order to make room in campus bicycle storage areas.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Welcome Back, Jeff!

Senior Officer Jeff Wojcik returns to patrol tonight following a six-month deployment overseas. Officer Jeff has been with our department for nine years, and he was missed. If you see him working his overnight shift, please welcome him back!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Public Safety Reaccredited!

Director of Public Safety Paul L. Ominsky is pleased to announce that on March 5, 2008 the Mount Holyoke College Department of Public Safety was re-accredited by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, Inc.

The Department was first certified in 2003 and accredited in 2005, and became the first college or university department to achieve either status. Achieving accreditation from the Commission is the highest award given, and it is a recognition that is highly regarded by the law enforcement community. Currently, only 16 agencies are certified (1 campus public safety agency) and 27 are accredited (2 other campus agencies).

Accreditation is a self-initiated evaluation process by which law enforcement departments strive to meet and maintain standards that have been established for the profession - by the profession. These carefully selected standards reflect critical areas of police management, operations, and technical support activities. They cover areas such as policy development, emergency response planning, training, communications, property and evidence handling, use of force, and prisoner transportation. The program not only sets standards for the law enforcement profession within the Commonwealth, but also for the delivery of police services to the community.

Questions regarding the accreditation process can be forwarded to one of the Department’s accreditation managers, Associate Director Barbara Arrighi, or Jeanne Tripp,

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Welcome to the grand opening of the Mount Holyoke College Department of Public Safety Blog!

Here we plan to share safety news, crime prevention information, crime occurrence information, and information about those of us working to keep our campus safe. Feedback and input are always welcome!

Check back soon for more content!