Tag Archive for public safety

Public Safety, Greek Life Stuff a Cruiser to Benefit Local Children in Need

Wesleyan Public Safety Sgt. Kathy Burdick and dispatcher Val Walker collect toy donations from the Wesleyan community during the office’s inaugural Stuff a Cruiser event Dec. 4.

Wesleyan Public Safety and Greek Life hosted a Stuff a Cruiser event Dec. 3–7 at Usdan’s Huss Courtyard and Dec. 8 at Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore. The University partnered with the Middletown Fire Department by collecting donations to benefit local children in need during the holidays and throughout the year.

Several members of Psi Upsilon also helped staff the event and Bon Appétit Management Co. provided free coffee vouchers for anyone who made a donation.

“The Wesleyan community has been so generous during our Stuff a Cruiser event,” said Sgt. Kathy Burdick. “We’ve collected many toys and cash donations, and we look forward to doing this again next year.”

As a result of the donations, which filled five Public Safety cruisers, Wesleyan helped 16 local families provide gifts for their children on Christmas.

Public Safety also is collecting donations (including wrapping paper) at the office located at 208 High Street. (Photos by Alexa Jablonski ’22)

“Pancakes with P-Safe” Promotes Dialog Between Officers, Students

At right, Public Safety Supervisor Lt. Fred West and Officer Kathy Burdick, center, gather with Wesleyan students in Bennet Hall during "Pancakes with P-Safe."

Public Safety Supervisor Lt. Fred West (at right) and Officer Kathy Burdick (center) gather with Wesleyan students in Bennet Hall during “Pancakes with P-Safe.”

Students enjoyed a late-night snack/early breakfast Sept. 24 at “Pancakes with Public Safety.” At midnight, Wesleyan’s Public Safety Officers ventured to Bennet Hall where they prepared a meal and spoke to students about safety issues on campus.

“Students often see us as enforcement, so we want to have conversations with students so they see us in a different light,” said Public Safety Supervisor Lt. Fred West, who created the series of Residence Officer Programs in 2013. Past programs include “Pistachio Ice Cream with P-Safe” and “Pasta with P-Safe,” whereas “Potatoes with P-Safe” may be next in line.

PSafe Director Rohde Strives to Keep Wesleyan Community Safe, Engaged

As Wesleyan's director of public safety, Scott Rohde oversaw the creation of a new "statement of commitment" to the campus.

As Wesleyan’s director of public safety, Scott Rohde oversaw the creation of a new “statement of commitment” to the campus.

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Scott Rohde, who marks his one-year anniversary as Wesleyan’s Director of Public Safety on Oct. 1. Rohde reflects back on his first year at Wesleyan, changes he has overseen, and what’s to come.

Q: What has struck you most about the Wesleyan community during your first year here?

A: I was stuck by the significant focus on students, and student success. Not only the faculty, but administrators and staff, want every student to succeed here at Wes but also in the global community. The liberal arts tradition is vibrant here and offers a “true college experience.” Having worked for the prior 16 years in public higher education the difference is pretty stark, and a change I was looking for.

Q: What would you say are some of the biggest challenges facing your department?

A: I would say keeping students, faculty and staff engaged when it comes to keeping themselves and their property safe. Public Safety officers have a unique opportunity to connect with the campus community, identify problems and partner with our stakeholders to solve them. It is easy for students to become complacent.

Public Safety Holds Rape Aggression Defense Training for Staff

Lt. Jay Mantie, in the RAD protective suit, attacks Officer Kathy Burdick.

Lt. Jay Mantie, in the RAD protective suit, attacks Sergeant Kathy Burdick.    (Photos by Cynthia E. Rockwell)

The meeting ran much later into the evening than usual, and you are walking back to your car alone. The parking lot is both dark and deserted. Suddenly a figure steps out of the shadows not five feet in front of you. What do you do?

Thanks to a special training course on campus, a dozen members of the Wesleyan community have a new set of skills to use in both assessing and responding to threatening situations like the one described above.

Public Safety Lt. Jay Mante and Officer Kathy Burdick.

Public Safety Lt. Jay Mantie and Sgt. Kathy Burdick are teaching the Rape Aggression Defense class.

Rape Aggression Defense—or RAD—training, was recently offered to the university’s female staff members, coordinated by Krystal-Gayle O’Neill, a residential life area coordinator. Lieutenant Jay Mantie was the lead trainer, assisted by Sergeant Kathy Burdick. Officer Melissa Widlack is also a RAD trainer and works with the team. The three earned RAD training credential by passing an intensive four-day training course on the core fundamentals of RAD training.

“There was a physical component and a mental component to the training,” Mantie said. “We were given a tough and comprehensive test at the end to ensure we knew the material well.”

It’s clear that he, Burdick, and Widlack passed the week-long intensive with flying colors. While Mantie explains RAD through its mission statement (“The goal of RAD is to develop and enhance the options of self defense, so they may become viable considerations to the woman who is attacked”), he also underscores a key result of learning the physical techniques.

“The training empowers women through self-defense,” said Lt. Mantie, “and leads the trainees to realize that they can defend themselves if attacked, and that they can be responsible for their own safety.” The result is women with confidence because they now have a tool that they can effectively use if needed. The course is not limited to sexual assault defense, and Mantie encourages the class to consider other instances in which it may be an important asset. “RAD training also provides defense against abduction, domestic violence, or any other form of aggression towards women,” he noted.

However, Mantie also gives the trainees a caveat. “No program is capable of adequately preparing or training an individual in every situation,” he cautioned, “so there is a mental component to the training as well.”

This part is risk management, with four key tenets: risk awareness, risk reduction, risk recognition, and risk avoidance. In other words, the trainees are taught how to identify potentially high-risk situations, and make informed decisions to avoid or mitigate this danger.

Mantie explains, “We teach trainees to identify a bad situation before it turns worse. For example, walking alone to your car at night and seeing a van parked in the spot next to yours in an otherwise empty parking lot. It is important not only to identify this as a risky situation, but also to know what you can do to lower the chances of a confrontation.”

Lt. Mantie sneaks up on Officer Burdick.

Lt. Mantie sneaks up on Sgt. Burdick.

Another important part of the risk management training is awareness. Mantie noted that one purpose of RAD training wasn’t to make its trainees paranoid, but rather, to help them be able to quickly identify the times and places one has to be more alert. “We provide them realistic, real-world scenarios that they could potentially face in the future,” he explained.

On the last day of training, each woman is able to practice the moves on a male attacker in a protective suit. “I can easily feel if the women use the moves correctly,” said Mantie. “The protective suit keeps me safe, but I can tell that if I weren’t wearing the gear I would be in a lot of pain.”

New Public Safety Director Looks Forward to Campus Partnerships

Scott Rohde became director of Public Safety on Oct. 1.

Scott Rohde became director of Public Safety on Oct. 1. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Scott Rohde became Wesleyan’s new Public Safety director the first week of October. The long-term police chief at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse says he’s looking forward to new partnerships between the campus community and Public Safety, and pursuing other initiatives as head of the university’s 30-plus member safety team.

Q: Welcome to Wesleyan, Scott. What attracted you to Wesleyan?

A: I was attracted to Wesleyan by its reputation as well as its strong commitment to a solid liberal arts education. During the interview process and my visit here I felt very welcome and comfortable both on campus and in the community.

Q: What are the first challenges you hope to tackle as director of Public Safety? 

A: I want to expand partnerships between the department and members of the campus community, in an effort to increase awareness about preventing crime and how to respond in problem situations. I would like to see Public Safety more integrated into the campus community.

Q: Have you had specific experiences that will help you in your Wesleyan job?

A: Having worked with students, faculty and staff extensively, I feel my experience will offer some new perspectives in the areas of both prevention and response to safety issues. I also have had good success in implementing a problem-solving methodology of service delivery.

Q: Since 1998, you’ve served as director of Police Services at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Are you from Wisconsin? Tell us more about yourself.

A: I am a native of Wisconsin, and until last week it was the only state I have been a resident of, although I have traveled pretty extensively throughout the U.S. I grew up in the Milwaukee area and attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee majoring in Criminal Justice. I started working in law enforcement in 1987 and served in a number of capacities, most recently as police chief for U.W.-La Crosse. My wife Michelle and I have been married for almost 30 years and have two children and two grandchildren.

Q: Any first impressions of Wesleyan you’d care to share?

A: My first week here has been superb. Everyone on campus and in Middletown has been extremely helpful and has made us feel at home. I look forward to the future!

Read more about Scott Rohde in this News@Wesleyan article.


Rohde Hired as Wesleyan’s New Director of Public Safety

Scott Rohde will become director of Public Safety on Oct. 1. (Photo courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

Scott Rohde will become director of Public Safety on Oct. 1. (Photo courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

Scott Rohde will become Wesleyan’s new director of Public Safety on Oct. 1.

Since 1998, Rohde has served as director of Police Services at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse where he managed safety and security operations for a campus population of 10,000 students, faculty and staff. Prior to working in higher education, he worked for 10 years in municipal policing in a small town in Wisconsin.

Rohde holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and a BS from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, where he majored in criminal justice and minored in sociology.

“After an extensive search, I’m confident that we have found an experienced director who will work collaboratively with all of us to promote the safety and security of our community,” said Michael Whaley, vice president for student affairs, in an all-campus e-mail. “I want to extend my sincere thanks to the students, faculty and staff who served on the search committee for this important position, as well as to the many members of our campus community who interviewed finalists. Finally, I want to express my gratitude to Tony Bostick, who has served as interim director, and to the entire Public Safety team for their hard work and leadership during this transition.”


Public Safety’s Bostick, Harrington Promoted

Tony Bostick and Tom Harrington stand outside the Office of Public Safety Sept. 28. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

The Office of Public Safety announces two promotions and a new hire.

Tony Bostick, formerly a captain, was promoted to associate director of Public Safety on Oct. 1.

Bostick has 21 years of service at Wesleyan. He’s worked as an officer, supervisor, investigator and as a patrol captain for the past five years. In his new role, Bostick will continue to direct the patrol division and will also oversee investigations, assist with budget management, and  maintain relationship with outside agencies.

“I like the campus environment – the students, the administrators,” Bostic says. “I enjoy working to keep everyone comfortable and secure, and interacting with the people here.”

Tom Harrington, formerly a lead officer, was promoted to a shift supervisor in Sept. 19. In this new role, Harrington will be responsible for overseeing up to seven officers during the 3:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. shift.

Harrington came to Wesleyan 11 years ago as an officer. In 2008, he was promoted to a sergeant.

“As an evening supervisor, I’ll be out (on patrol) most of the time,” he says. “I really enjoy dealing with the community. We have people here from all over the country and world who have different lifestyles. I enjoy working with them.”

Wesleyan Public Safety Honored by Northeast Security Association

Wesleyan's Office of Public Safety received the NECUSA President's Award for Outstanding Service.

Wesleyan's Office of Public Safety received the NECUSA President's Award for Outstanding Service. Pictured, from left, are Captain Tony Bostick, Director David Meyer and Officer Steve Crescimanno.

For efforts with the May 6, 2009 shooting near Wesleyan’s campus, the Wesleyan University Public Safety Department was honored with the Northeast Colleges and Universities Security Association President’s Award for Outstanding Performance on June 14.

C. G. “Neil” McLaughlin Jr., chief of police at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. nominated David Meyer, director of Public Safety at Wesleyan and the Wesleyan officers for this honor.

His recommendation read:

“On May 6th at 1 p.m. a man in disguise, wig, beard, mustache and glasses entered the campus bookstore about a block and a half from the Public Safety Office at Wesleyan University and shot a female student who was working in the café inside the bookstore. The gunmen fired several rounds into the female student worker in front of several witnesses and fled the scene.

The suspect discarded his disguise and blended in with the bystanders as Public Safety Officers from Wesleyan and the Middletown Police Department arrived on scene moments later. He was identified at the scene but no one realized that he was the shooter. During the investigation after the school was shut down and students alerted to the shooting and advised to stay in their residences, his vehicle was found parked at the bookstore and impounded. The puzzle started to come together.

Within 48 hours of the shooting the suspect who had been positively identified and his picture published in the local newspapers surrendered himself to police in a neighboring city. He was brought to the Middletown Police Department where he was charged with the murder of the Wesleyan student.

The Wesleyan Office of Public Safety did an outstanding job in responding to and containing this horrendous situation. According to news accounts, the shooter’s intent, after shooting the victim, was to roam the campus and randomly kill students of Jewish descent. The quick response by the agencies involved; the timely shut down of the campus and emergency warnings to the students; and other elements of police/public safety coordination kept the rest of the campus safe while this person was on the loose. As I understand the news reports, the department did an outstanding job of coordinating the response; working with the responding law enforcement agencies and securing the university during this horrendous time.”

The Northeast Colleges and Universities Security Association (NECUSA), established in 1953, is the oldest campus law enforcement organization in the United States. Originally intended to be a small group of campus security and police professionals coming together to share information on issues facing their campuses, the organization grew from eight loosely organized members to an organization over 400 members strong.