By Matthew Muir | Staff Writer
The Sic ‘em for Safety campaign, which runs through September and is promoted by Baylor’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), coincides with National Preparedness Month and aims to educate students, faculty and staff about safety procedures and emergency services on campus.
Sic ‘em for Safety will conclude with a National Night Out event from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 1 on Fountain Mall.
According to the Baylor statement announcing Sic ‘em for Safety, many of the activities to take place during National Night Out are intended to “promote overall campus safety and crime prevention,” including a live fire dorm room burn designed to show the importance of fire safety.
John Kolinek, assistant chief of the Baylor Police Department, said that other activities will focus on fun and community interaction.
“We’ll also be serving free food to anybody that’s coming [to National Night Out]… we have a cornhole tournament that’s coming up— I think that we’ve got 25 teams that are registered,” Kolinek said. “Plus it gives the community an opportunity to learn and meet… different persons from different entities within Department of Public Safety.”
Mark Childers, associate vice president of DPS, said Sic ‘em for Safety is a cross between a teaching opportunity and celebration of DPS’ fifth anniversary.
“The Department of Public Safety is fairly new—the division is five years old,” Childers said. “We wanted to come back out at the five-year mark and really highlight the different branches within the Department of Public Safety.”
One of the services highlighted by the Sic ‘em for Safety campaign is the Baylor Alert system, which sends warnings of potentially dangerous situations via channels such as text messages, emails and indoor and outdoor alert systems. Kolinek explained the process behind sending alert messages.
“When [a potentially dangerous] event happens, we send out an emergency notification, we give a brief description of what the event is and then what our expectation of what our faculty and staff and students are going to be doing as soon as that notification is sent,” Kolinek said. “After that we will follow up with information [about] the status of the emergency notification to keep everyone informed.”
Baylor also has a network of more than 1,300 surveillance cameras on campus. Baylor police does not disclose the locations of cameras, but Kolinek shared the boundaries on campus which are monitored by the “virtual fence.”
“The cameras are basically in positions that have the entire campus covered, [along] what we call the Baylor trail which is University Parks to Bagby, Bagby down to 8th Street, 8th Street to Dutton and then Dutton back to University Parks,” Kolinek said. “If there’s any issue or concern or report of a crime on campus, we can go back and review our camera system to see if we can pick up any information that will lead us or help us in the investigation.”
Two years ago, Baylor’s network had roughly 300 fewer cameras. Childers said Baylor DPS is continually improving its systems and procedures because the Baylor community deserves the best DPS has to offer.
“You never get comfortable with the status quo—you’re always trying to stay in front of it, always pushing to be the best because the community deserves that,” Childers said. “Students, faculty and staff, parents—they deserve the absolute very best and Baylor is, in my opinion, providing the very best safety, security and law enforcement services available.”
The Sept. 5 release of Baylor’s active attack training video kicked off Sic ‘em for Safety. The video depicted a shooting on campus to inform students, faculty and staff on how to respond to an active attacker situation. Kolinek said the reactions to the video have been positive.
“I’ve been pleased with the conversations that have been had not only with myself but within other entities within Baylor’s Department of Public Safety,” Kolinek said. “So far the students have been overwhelmingly supportive.”