In the Campus Safety Services office on Montgomery Avenue near 12th Street, dispatchers work day and night, monitoring about 700 security cameras around Main Campus, taking and responding to emergency calls, interfacing with the Philadelphia Police Department and sending out TU Alerts when necessary.
Joe Garcia, the deputy chief of administration, said Temple Police decided to upgrade its communication facilities with the coming of such a large freshman class.
The renovation, which has been in progress for the past year, will be completed in the next few weeks. The new facility will feature more workstations, new monitors and updated software for the dispatchers to work with. Garcia said the new equipment is “top shelf” for employees and dispatchers to use within the call center.
Everything is new and improved. The large room is covered in screens and brand new desks, each boasting their own high-quality computer systems. Even the room’s colors have changed. Garcia said the cool green accent walls produce a calming effect, much needed in an otherwise stressful job.
Garcia explained that the dispatchers have yet to become acquainted with the new equipment and software, but he is sure that adapting will not be too intense of an undertaking.
“It’s upgraded software,” he said. “It’s like your email, when the style of your email changes all of a sudden it looks different so you get frustrated because you liked the old way, but then you find out that it’s easier now, so we’re making it better for our dispatchers.”
“It’s just a little different and they have to get adjusted to that,” Garcia added.
In the new facility, the communication team will be transforming their leadership methods, focusing on professional development and mentoring, departing from the conventional supervisory leadership model, to ensure that the dispatchers are successful when doing the often-stressful work.
The department is also working on achieving more exclusive certifications that demand high-quality training standards including an accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
Receiving the accreditation is an intensive process, Garcia said.
“[CALEA] comes in and tears the whole place up,” he explained. “They really scrutinize everything you do … there are not a lot of police departments that are accredited, so we just want to be among the best.”
The department is also considering new methods of communication, like adapting Twitter as a means of alerting the community to things like construction and traffic.
Garcia said the department will pursue grants to help fund these transformations.
“What we want to do is provide the university with the very best service possible,” Garcia added. “We want everyone to know we’re legitimate, we want everyone to be proud of the police department that protects them, we want people to say, ‘I go to where we have the largest university police department in the country, and by the way they’re certified.’”
Noah Tanen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.