|Expanded Security Makes an Impression and a Difference
Some recent improvements in campus security are glaringly apparent, while others go completely unnoticed. And that’s just the way Edmund Skrodzki, executive director of safety and security at Homewood, wants it.
Last year, the university set forth on a comprehensive security enhancement plan to put Hopkins at the forefront of campus protection nationwide.
Today, private duty officers from AlliedBarton Security Services patrol the Homewood campus and surrounding areas in fluorescent green jackets, on foot and bicycle. Bike patrol officers ride cycles equipped with strobe lights and flagpoles. Small alterations, perhaps, but the impact is palpable.
“High visibility does create deterrence,” says Skrodzki, who estimates a 25 percent drop in crime from this time last year. The number and hours of bike patrols and the use of off-duty Baltimore City police officers have also increased, adding presence and protection to the area.
Some of the less obvious changes include 46 additional closed-circuit TV cameras (for a total of 78 on and around campus) and a unique communications arrangement with city police that Skrodzki believes will dramatically improve response times in the event of emergencies. Skrodzki recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm that ensures direct contact between Homewood officers and city police dispatchers. In the past, Skrodzki says, campus police used the 911 emergency system.
“We are the first and only university that has this arrangement with Baltimore City,” Skrodzki says. “I’m very, very happy with that.”
Skrodzki arrived at Hopkins last June after 22 years with the U.S. Secret Service and several years as a member of the Baltimore City Police Department. His experience in the protection division at the Secret Service allowed him to identify “vulnerabilities” at Homewood and to create a plan to correct them.
The safety chief meets daily with his staff to immediately review incident reports, future events, schedules, and potential scenarios.
“We don’t want any surprises,” says Skrodzki, who also established monthly workload analysis meetings designed to review and investigate any crimes committed in the past 30 days. “We have to be accountable.”
—Christine A. Rowett