This year marked a positive shift — and a new name — for Concordia’s Campus Safety and Prevention Services (CSPS, formerly Campus Security).
“We firmly believe that a strong commitment to campus safety is fundamental in promoting an inclusive and conducive learning environment where individuals can thrive academically, intellectually and socially,” says Darren Dumoulin, who was appointed director of CSPS in December 2022. He had served as the department’s interim director since 2021.
In the months leading up to this new role, Dumoulin worked with community members to identify their needs and concerns regarding safety on campus. This consultation helped inform the department’s new mission statement, which emphasized seeking ways to ensure a safe and secure learning environment; delivering excellence in customer service, crime prevention and community protection; and solving problems and improving public safety in a kind, consistent, impartial, transparent, and sustainable way.
As part of its commitment to inclusivity, the department also sought advice from the President’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism. One result of that consultation was the transition to a new name for the unit that better reflects its mission: the new name - Campus Safety and Prevention Services.
The department also undertook some restructuring to better align itself under three branches: operations, emergency preparedness, and support services. Fire prevention and emergency management were combined under emergency preparedness, and support services now include investigations, technical services, event analysis, and key and card services.
The new mission statement includes a commitment to building partnerships with members of the campus community. In line with that goal, the Campus Safety Advisory Group was established. The group includes representatives from faculty, staff, residence life, the Concordia Student Union and the Graduate Students’ Association, as well as other organizations, cultural centres and members with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
Dumoulin shares that this group represents an opportunity to let community members know in more detail about the work performed by the CSPS team.
“This was an opportunity to explain what our officers do to secure campus buildings, share statistics about the number and type of incidents that take place, and give a picture of what’s actually happening on campus,” he says.
The advisory group will meet regularly to discuss how the department can continue to improve and better communicate what it does for the community, Dumoulin adds.
CSPS’s service contract with security company Commissionaires ended in 2023. Prior to its call for tenders for 2023-28, the department undertook a rigorous operational analysis to identify gaps and areas of improvement, to better meet its top priorities.
As a result, CSPS enhanced several key areas.
The unit revamped its allocation of resources and guided the redistribution of agents on the different shifts and campuses. The operation is now better aligned to effectively deal with incidents, events and community demands without increasing the number of agents.
As the hub of security-related phone calls, CSPS dispatch was recognized as the nerve centre of its operations. It was therefore critical to grow the team to ensure that the department could manage the volume of calls and activities as well as on-campus emergencies.
To augment agents’ professionalism and the quality of service they provide, CSPS doubled the amount of training new agents receive and continues to provide regular, on-the-job, professional development training to all uniform personnel.
These new training hours will incorporate subject-matter experts from Concordia’s Equity Office, Centre for Gender Advocacy, Office of Indigenous Directions and Sexual Assault Resource Centre. In addition, all agents receive crisis management and de-escalation training.
CSPS continued to support all Concordia students through its everyday work to secure both campuses. For example, it implemented safe zones for anyone completing online transactions in person. In 2022-23 the department also provided work opportunities to students for the first time, hiring two qualified students as security agents and provided flexible work schedules to accommodate their studies.
“As we navigate an ever-changing world, it becomes increasingly crucial to evaluate our safety protocols, address emerging challenges and proactively implement strategies that prioritize the well-being of our campus community,” says Dumoulin.
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