The Ins and Outs of Public Safety

by Alyssa Velazquez 


We all our familiar with the officers that help aid in the protection of faculty and students on the Manhattan College campus. But what are the qualifications Manhattan College’s public safety officers go through before they are out patrolling the campus.

One of the most important aspects of having a college campus located in one of the most populated cities in the world is how safe the campus is for the students who live there and the faculty and staff who work there. The college’s Public Safety department is well-aware of this, therefore they prepare their officers for nearly any scenario in order to educate the public and be there for those who need it.

When working with the Public Safety department of the college there are two main positions that are available; a public safety officer and a public safety supervisor. The difference between these two positions is that a supervisor has to ensure that the duties of each of the officers for a designated shift is being met. However, the first step to becoming a supervisor is to first be an officer.

To become a public safety officer the Department of Public Safety requires prospective officers to attend a series of classes and orientations that all fall in line with the New York State General Business Law, Article 7-A. According to this law, officers must attend an “8 hour Pre-Assignment Training Course for Security Guards” which includes an examination the officers must pass, another course similar to the one prior with the exception that it’s a sixteen hour long course, and a final 8 hour course that happens annually.

The first two requirements happen only once, unless the directors of Public Safety believe an officer should take a course again. The last course happens annually in order to ensure that the employees are still fit for the position of being a public safety officer.

To become a public safety supervisor the college mainly focuses on the experience that officer has had at the college. Director of Public Safety department, Juan Cerezo emphasizes the importance of having a supervisor who is well-aware of every aspect of the college because “when we’re not here we got to rely on these guys or ladies to do the job and keep us informed if something happens at the college, even if it’s at three in the morning, it doesn’t matter. They’re the ones that are going to be calling us.”

In addition to experience however, Peter DeCaro, the Associate Director of Public Safety makes it a point that the supervisors must be able to know all the systems that are used on campus such as building alarm, lock and key, burglary and life safety systems. All of these requirements, including several orientations and exams, are taken into account when promoting officers to becoming supervisors. One supervisor that has been working at the college for the past fifteen years is Marvin Perez.

Marvin Perez started at the college as a public safety officer, a position that was at first foreign to him being that his experience prior was working as a doorman. Perez started working at the college like any other public safety officer, however one detail that Perez recalls from some of his first experiences fiteen years ago was the number of reports. “A lot of reports, a lot of incident reports that I remember. A lot of students coming in and asking for help.”

One point that Perez believes is an important aspect of being an officer is the connections they make with their fellow employees and students. “A lot of the time you have to be there for [the students], you have to be a listening ear, you have to be a counselor plus a friend sometimes.”

The Public Safety department will continue with their initiative to ensure the safety of students and faculty as well as keeping them informed, through emails and presentations such as the “Active Shooter Presentation, ”on what they can do to aid in the effort of staying safe at Manhattan College.