Mount Mercy’s Department of Public Safety has worked to improve safety and security measures around campus this summer. Director of Public Safety Blake Mikesell said the changes are part of efforts to continually enhance campus safety and help Mount Mercy stand out as an institution where the well-being of the entire campus community is top priority.
“With the increased emergency situations seen on college campuses across the country, we will continue working to ensure the safety of our campus and make sure our staff is fully trained to respond should an unfortunate situation occur,” said Mikesell. “We don’t want the campus community to think there is or will be a problem; we just want everyone to know we are striving to update and grow our safety and security program here so students and parents know we are serious about student safety.”
Enhancements started with rehabilitating an empty structure in the Prairie Drive parking lot to serve as the official command center in a crisis situation. The newly painted blue and yellow command center will have wireless Internet access and allow security staff to communicate with emergency response crews and oversee emergency procedures in the event of a crisis. It will also serve as a lookout for Public Safety employees who patrol the parking lot and is stocked with equipment to handle any vehicle issues or first aid needs that may arise.
The department also worked to make courtesy phone stations on campus more noticeable. Courtesy phone stations, which were wrapped in yellow to provide better visibility, allow someone in an emergency situation to call for help, call for an escort to their residence hall, or call when any other situation might arise. The facilities department is working to make sure that the blue light on the phone stations stays lit at all times as well.
In order to be more visible on campus and increase access for students, staff, and faculty, the Public Safety switchboard and Director of Public Safety’s office are now located where the mailroom used to be in the University Center. At the Public Safety window, staff provides services such as campus vehicle check out, a new key safe program to ensure students have a place to leave their keys should they want to leave campus, parking registration, lost and found, key check out for buildings, and numerous other programs. The Public Safety Officers have space where the switchboard was formerly located.
In addition to these enhancements around Mount Mercy’s main campus, Public Safety is now, for the first time in university history, using a vehicle for patrol between the main campus, the graduate center on Wenig road, and the future athletic complex property.
Mikesell hopes these ongoing improvements coupled with increasing visibility of the Public Safety staff will encourage students, faculty, staff and parents to share suggestions and any concerns with the department.
“We have a great staff in Public Safety who is dedicated to our mission and goals, so please stop by at any time and talk to us. We are always available,” Mikesell said. “The more feedback we get from the entire Mount Mercy community, the better equipped we are to address those needs.”