Behind the badge: Department of Public Safety offers host of services
Lt. Virginia Fedor conducts a child seat safety check. A DPS officer walks with a student through the parking garage as part of SafeWalk. DPS collects unwrapped toys for D.C. area children during the holiday season for Toys For Tots.
The Gallaudet University community is well-aware of the robust Department of Public Safety (DPS), which is charged with the safety and well-being of everyone on campus. DPS does much more than patrol the campus, however; it offers a wide range of services that foster strong community bonds.
DPS’ goal is to promote individual responsibility, community commitment, and involvement through crime prevention initiatives to create a safe, secure, and informed campus community. Through the timely communication of incidents that take place on and near the campus, the community is empowered to make informed decisions and plan strategies to protect life and property. Officers and dispatchers are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. DPS dispatchers are certified in Advanced Law Enforcement Dispatch with specialized training in response to fire, police, and medical emergencies. In addition, about 200 cameras are located around campus. All exterior dorm doors are equipped with closed circuit cameras that continuously record and store information for a period of 21 days. Emergency “blue light” stations are also located throughout the campus.
As DPS Chief Ted Baran noted in a presentation to the Gallaudet University Marketing Committee, “DPS officers and supervisors are considered special police officers, commissioned by the District of Columbia. They have the same powers as police officers to arrest without a warrant for offenses committed on the Gallaudet campus. They may also arrest people outside Gallaudet if they are in pursuit of a person for an offense committed on campus.”
Chief Baran also highlighted Gallaudet’s close relationship with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and its Deaf and Hard of Hearing Unit.
In addition to crime prevention using community involvement, outreach, and presentations, DPS offers a wide variety of helpful services to the campus community:
- SafeWalk: A DPS officer will escort members of the community to another building or to their vehicle after sundown. Security escorts do not go off-campus.
- Safety checks: If requested, a DPS officer will stop by and check periodically on anyone on campus who is working or studying late.
- Bike registration: The bicycle registration program requires users to register their bike or moped on campus to receive a license issued by DPS. The license is used to identify the owner in the event the bike is lost or stolen.
- Passport photos: Individuals who need their picture taken for a passport can stop by DPS headquarters in Carlin Hall anytime between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to smile and sign ‘cheese.’ The cost is $5.
- Fingerprinting: If a job applicant needs to provide a copy of their fingerprints, they can make an appointment with DPS to have the service provided free of charge.
- Engraving: DPS will engrave identification into electronics and other items for free.
- Vehicle battery jump: If your car battery dies, DPS will jump start it for free.
- Child safety seat checks: DPS officers will check to see if a child safety seat is installed properly. The checks are by appointment only because Lt. Virginia Fedor is the only department member who conducts them.
- Lost and Found: Missing something important? Items found in the fall semester are kept at DPS until the end of the spring semester. Items found in the spring or summer are kept until the end of the following fall semester.
- Toys for Tots: DPS partners with D.C. Fire Department Engine 10 in collecting new unwrapped for The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve to distribute to children in need in the D.C. region, including Maryland, and Virginia.
Also, as a safety reminder, DPS offers these valuable tips:
- Never prop open doors.
- Always keep dorm rooms locked.
- Beware of people “tailgating” when entering buildings.
- Never lend keys or a Gallaudet ID.
- Never leave valuables unattended or in plain view.
- Don’t inform others of where valuable items are hidden.
- Keep cars locked.
- Know where the emergency “blue lights” are.
- If you must go out alone, let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
- Park and walk in well-lit areas.
- Walk on sidewalks when possible. Avoid alleys, bushes, doorways, or other dark places.
- Walk with friends or in groups.
- Only take with you what you need.
- Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable with something, leave and go into a busy building, or get into your car, lock the door, and drive away.
- If anything serious happens off campus, notify MPD immediately or go to DPS and they will call for you.
- If you live near campus, notify DPS. They will adjust your access to the campus gates.
Contact the DPS Communication Center: