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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Be Safe, Stay Safe

By Nancy Clay

Assignments and exams can be distracting while walking to and from class at WCC. That is why there are several things new and returning students should know about safety while they are on campus:

  • WCC is an extremely safe campus.
  • Awareness is essential for protecting yourself and your property where ever you are—on or off campus.
  • In an emergency, dial 3411 from any on-campus phone or (734) 973-3411 from off-campus or cell phones. You can use one of the red emergency phones located in each WCC building. 

The Campus Safety & Security department has more than 30 patrol and security officers, dispatchers, support, and administrative professionals who work hard to keep the college safe 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Jacques Desrosiers, director of WCC Campus Safety & Security, loves making his daily walking tour around WCC’s campus, a practice he started shortly after he took this job in early 2010. “This is a very safe place. Since I’ve been here, we’ve had only one stolen car, which I think is pretty amazing. But people need to be aware and not create an opportunity for a crime to be committed,” he says.

Safety Begins With You

Thieves find it hard to pass up a laptop computer, purse, or cell phone that is left unattended. To be safe, record the serial numbers of your electronic devices and use anchor security devices for them when appropriate.

Don’t carry a lot of cash and, if you can, leave credit cards and checkbooks at home. Never leave keys (even hidden ones) with your car. Lock the vehicle and roll the windows up all the way up. Keep valuables in your vehicle out of sight. Don’t walk away from an idling car, even for a minute. If you ride a bicycle, invest in a good lock and lock it to the bike racks provided, not a tree or post.

It’s always a good idea to pay attention to your surroundings and the people near you. At night, walk with friends and avoid isolated areas. Trust your instincts. If you feel threatened in any way, call Campus Security. 

The department has created a Campus Safety Guide, which is available to students at the Safety & Security Office in the Plant Operations building on the northwest side of campus through December. In January 2012 it moves to the new parking structure. You also can get one at the Campus Safety & Security office on the second floor of the Student Center building.

On the Job Round the Clock

The Campus Safety & Security staff are not police officers and they do not carry weapons. However, they do work closely with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department, which is under contract to provide law enforcement services to WCC.

“We are here 24 hours a day and we are very much public-service oriented. If there’s a theft, we want people to call us. We investigate and write reports, but we also connect the victim with the sheriff’s department and encourage him or her to file an official police report with the sheriff’s department,” says Desrosiers, who retired from the Taylor Police Department prior to coming to WCC.

WCC campus security officers are first aid/CPR trained and will assist students and staff as needed in medical non-emergencies. “We also help stranded motorists by jump-starting their cars and getting other auto service if needed. If a person works or studies late and is afraid to walk to his or her car, give us a call and we’ll escort you to the vehicle,” Desrosiers adds.

WCC is fortunate in its location, he says, because of its isolation from neighborhoods and businesses. “There’s no reason for anyone to cut across our campus. People generally only come here for WCC reasons and I have to believe that helps,” he adds.

Here are a few other ways to make your WCC experience safer and easier to navigate.

Sign Up for WCC Alert

This is an emergency notification service that allows the college to send emergency notices regarding college closings, utility outages, or other emergencies, to students and staff via voice, text, and/or email. Log onto “My WCC” to sign up for the WCC Alert service.

Park in Designated Spots

In January, the new parking structure on the east side of campus will open for staff and student use. Always park in approved parking spots, not on the lawn or outside designated areas. “For the first couple of weeks of the semester, there will be times when every single parking spot is taken,” Desrosiers says. After a few weeks, the parking situation generally improves.

Wait to Smoke

WCC is a non-smoking campus. Smoking can result in suspension for students and termination for employees. “We really strive for voluntary compliance. It’s so much better for everyone involved,” Desrosiers says.

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