HARTFORD, CT, August 10, 2012 – Campus safety officer Massimo Sanzo says Trinity’s new bicycle unit will improve the interaction between officers and students. His colleague, Ramon Rosario, says he likes being outdoors. And Nicole Patterson says patrolling the campus on a bicycle will serve the dual purpose of keeping her in shape and keeping students safe.
No matter their reason, Sanzo, Rosario, Patterson and five of their fellow campus safety officers volunteered to be members of Trinity’s new bicycle unit, which has already begun patrolling campus. The eight are sporting new bright yellow uniforms that arrived about a week ago.
Interim Campus Safety Director James Perrotti calls the creation of the bicycle unit “smart policing,” and part of a plan that was developed several months ago mandating a more visible campus safety presence.
Although Trinity already had a bicycle unit, it consisted of only two officers and their uniforms weren’t exactly eye-catching. The new yellow uniforms, which can be worn year-round, are hard to miss. The letters, denoting the fact that the riders are campus safety officers, are illuminated at night and the officers have special badges and patches. Perrotti, who has been instrumental in helping to improve campus safety in recent months, described the uniforms as “top shelf.”
The eight officers – who include Amer Habibovic, Frank Colaninno, Edward Parker, Heriberto Vicenty Jr. and Natalie Rivera – are riding specially designed bicycles with heavier frames, sturdy components and better lighting. The officers will be able to ride the bikes for most of the year, except when hazardous conditions exist, such as ice and snow.
The eight, who are among Trinity’s 26 full-time campus safety officers (excluding contracted officers), have been divided into two groups. As of now, one shift patrols from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the other from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Once school starts in September, the hours will shift, so that one group will patrol from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the second from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., according to Perrotti.
“Theoretically, there should be bicycles working seven days a week,” said Perrotti, with each of the groups being given designated areas to patrol. The bicycle unit is not meant to replace the regular complement of officers, but will work in tandem with them.
The use of the bicycle unit will be assessed at some point, Perrotti said, to ensure that the officers are properly deployed. Changes will be instituted if they’re needed, he said.
The creation of the bicycle patrol unit is just one in a series of steps that Trinity has taken in recent months to beef up campus security. For example, Perrotti, who had previously worked at Yale University, was hired in April as interim campus safety director, and a permanent director is expected to be in place in coming months.
Also, additional full-time campus safety officers have been hired, nearly 300 outdoor lights were upgraded or had their bulbs replaced, and dark areas on campus were illuminated. Administrators visited other urban campuses to examine best practices at similarly situated institutions. And a team of campus safety professionals conducted a review of Trinity’s staffing, protocols, training programs, and allocation of resources.
To accomplish much of this, the College has employed the firm of Margolis Healy & Associates, which specializes in safety and security for colleges and universities. A consultant will soon present a range of proposals to senior administrators regarding possible infrastructure improvements – such as landscaping, lighting, and fencing – with the aim of ensuring the safety of the entire campus community.