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A man for all reasons.


ON DECEMBER 21, 1870, THE COLLEGE of New Jersey, now called Princeton University, accepted President McCosh's recommendation and appointed the first proctor at an annual salary of $780. His duties were to be defined by the president.

From such a humble beginning, the Department of Public Safety of Princeton University has developed into a full-service law enforcement agency with a full-time staff of 117 proctors, security officers, fire fighters, and rescue officers.

The university operates a two-campus system with its main campus located in Princeton, NJ. This campus is a traditional, higher-education school with both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Typical facilities include residence halls, classroom buildings, administrative and research facilities, athletic structures, and open green areas. The university also owns and operates residence facilities for more than 1,000 members of the staff and faculty.

Department of Public Safety personnel on the main campus include administrative and support staff; proctors, who are fully commissioned police officers; and security officers, who handle physical security, traffic, and parking. The Public Safety Department's operations on the main campus include programs similar to those found at other major institutions of higher education.

The James Forrestal Campus of the university, located in Plainsboro, NJ, can be generally described as an adult population, high-tech research facility. Several specialized research and development projects funded by federal agencies can be found on this campus. The most notable among them is the Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory.

For more than three decades, this laboratory has been a world leader in research and development aimed primarily at the use of magnetic fusion energy as a safe, economical, and environmentally acceptable method of generating electricity. Funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), the laboratory has a staff of internationally recognized scientists and engineers. The laboratory represents a capital investment in facilities and equipment of approximately $650 million. Annual operating funds exceed $106 million.

With such an investment, the DOE naturally expects Princeton University to provide an appropriate level of law enforcement and emergency services. This coverage during the early years of the laboratory was provided through a divided approach. The University Security Department, as it was then named, assigned personnel to patrol the laboratory, monitor alarms, secure the facilities, and respond to emergencies. The Emergency Services Unit, a fire-fighting unit, which also provided emergency medical and heavy rescue services, was formed within the laboratory, employing both full-time personnel and a volunteer brigade.

As the laboratory increased in both facility size and research intensity, the Emergency Services Unit was fully developed to a strength of 25 full-time personnel staffing three shifts on a 24-hour basis. During the lean federal fiscal years of the early 1980s, all research grant programs were required to cut spending and find ways to continue programs with less money.

As the laboratory reviewed its operations, the labor-intensive Emergency Services Unit was identified as a program to restructure. Since the staff needed to be available to respond to fires and other emergencies at a moment's notice, emergency personnel spent a lot of time in less productive activity. Inspections and equipment maintenance did not warrant as many on-duty personnel. An attempt to find other duties for these professional fire fighters, such as working in the stockroom or warehouse or maintaining inventory control, failed miserably - these were professional emergency services staff.

CONSOLIDATING THE EMERGENCY Services Unit into the then Department of Security was a viable alternative to provide the desired level of service at the least cost. Following extensive review, a plan was developed for the transfer of personnel in the Emergency Services Unit of the laboratory into the now-titled Department of Public Safety. The director of the Emergency Services Unit became an associate director of public safety under the managing director of public safety for the Forrestal Campus.

Since the motivation to consolidate these services was economically driven, it made no sense simply to add the 25 emergency services personnel to the Department of Public Safety. Thus, the Emergency Services Officer (ESO) I-III classification series was developed. The ESO I position is a multi-purpose public safety officer performing essentially the functions of both a security officer and a fire fighter. These officers are cross-trained in law enforcement and fire fighting as well as emergency medical technician (EMT) skills. ESO candidates must meet all the basic, entry-level standards of employment and successfully complete a mandatory training program that provides fire fighting certification prescribed by Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards and National Fire Protection Association Standard 1001.

Training is done at various local, state, and federal academy facilities as well as on campus. ESO personnel must complete an initial 120-hour academy course for basic fire fighter certification, 180 hours of emergency medical technician training, and 80 hours of hazardous material training. Officers must complete annual EMT certification training, 100 hours of hands-on fire fighting training, and 16 hours of hot training, simulating actual fire situations.

The duties of an ESO I under normal conditions are essentially those of a security officer. Officers are assigned to foot or motorized patrols or stationary posts. They are supervised by the shift security sergeant and are uniformed in traditional security officer apparel. The only condition of assignment for ESO personnel is that they must be released immediately from their security posts in the event of a major fire or medical emergency.

In the event of such an emergency, ESO personnel take off their security hats and put on their fire fighter helmets. These personnel then become first responders to the scene of a fire, explosion, chemical spill, or medical emergency. When such a dispatch occurs, the supervision of ESO personnel transfers to the on-duty emergency services captain.

When consolidation was first considered, it was determined that a cadre of fire personnel should be in place on each shift. The former captain in the Emergency Services Unit of the laboratory continued in that role after consolidation, becoming an ESO III (supervisor). It was also deemed necessary to have an individual on duty who was assigned to operate the first piece of fire apparatus to respond to the scene were responding directly to the scene. These officers became ESO II personnel (driver/operators).

Staffing levels of various classifications must be appropriately mixed. Obviously, security functions still need to be performed during a fire or medical emergency; not everyone can vacate his or her security post to fight fires. The Forrestal Division of the Public Safety Department has an appropriate mix of ESO personnel, security officers, communication officers, supervisors, and investigators to handle any emergency on campus while maintaining an appropriate level of routine security services.

During routine duty, the emergency services captain and the ESO II (driver/operator) provide maintenance of the seven pieces of fire apparatus and other emergency equipment. These include two 1,000 gallons-per-minute pumpers, one chemical truck, one fire rescue vehicle, one ambulance, one hazardous material rescue van, and one command van. The inventory also includes one fire chemical trailer and one medical triage trailer. The Department of Public Safety houses the apparatus in a firehouse located at the Plasma Physics Laboratory. These officers also provide inspections related to fire safety and hazardous material control and issue appropriate open flame permits for activities such as welding.

The goal of the consolidation was to provide adequate police, security, and fire fighting services to the Plasma Physics Laboratory while reducing the cost of such services. This goal was accomplished with an initial cost reduction of $320,000. Several other benefits of the consolidation are worthy of mention. Initial response time to emergencies decreased, the number of emergency staff increased, and the administrative and supervisory coordination of two closely related services improved.

The concept of multipurpose public safety officers is not new. It has been in use in such communities as Durham, NC; Kalamazoo, MI; Palo Alto, CA; Peoria, IL; and several other areas. The New York/New Jersey Port Authority police have operated their emergency services within this concept for years. The implementation of this concept on the James Forrestal Campus of Princeton University has not only been a cost reduction success but also enhanced career paths in the Department of Public Safety. Personnel of the department can now choose an advancement path from entry level to the fire protection field or remain in the security-oriented field leading to police commissioned status.

About the Author...Jerrold L. Witsil is the director of public safety at Princeton University and is a past president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. He is a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Society for Industrial Security
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Emergency Services Unit at Princeton University
Author:Witsil, Jerrold L.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Dec 1, 1989
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