The Department of Campus Safety (DoCS) is often one of the most misunderstood organizations on campus, for a number of reasons. As such, a number of rumors fly every year about what Campus Safety is, is not, will, and will not do.
As such, we at the Free Press felt it important to highlight both the policies of Campus Safety, and the recent changes that have occurred in the department over the last year.
One of the most major changes that occurred with campus safety last year was director Jim Hamrick’s move to have all officers sworn as Special Police Officers. But what exactly does this distinction mean?
“It gives that law enforcement authority to those officers within that specific geographic jurisdiction during the time that they are actually working,” states Hamrick, “anything that’s owned by McDaniel College, the officers would have full police jurisdiction there.”
This allows for officers to perform a variety of functions, including conducting arrests, in a manner they were not certified to previously. Special Police Officers are also subject to a higher standard of training than their non-sworn counterparts.
“They have to maintain their certifications and licensure the same as state, county, and municipal law enforcement officers,” said Law Enforcement Instructor Pat Rooney, “they get certified and licensed under the Maryland State Police.”
It should be noted that in the past, campus safety was still able to arrest students, however only officers ranked sergeant and above could actually conduct the arrest.
So what does this mean for McDaniel students? In many ways very little in the way of policy; if an action warranted an arrest prior to the change, then it still warrants one afterward.
Furthermore, Hamrick states that, at the present, he has no plans to change McDaniel Campus Safety policies on arming police.
“The other possibilities of weapons such as impact weapons, Tasers, firearms, that’s something that of course is, of course, in terms of the whole gamut of tools that might be accessible to the officers,” says Hamrick, “those are ongoing assessments but there is nothing underway to try to get them armed.”
There’s often a bit of confusion among students regarding which behaviors and activities are and are not prohibited on McDaniel’s campus. While we’re not going to list out every policy in the student handbook (which can be found here), here are the major ones to know:
- Students under the age of 21 cannot have or consume alcohol.
- Students over the age of 21 may consume beer and wine in their individual residences, as long as they are not substance free.
- Hard liquor is prohibited on campus.
- Drinking games and kegs are prohibited on campus.
- Social Hosting:
- Students who host social events where policies are broken will be held responsible for doing so.
- Fines start at $100, and increase to $250 on subsequent instances.
- “Fines will be assessed per social host, and will not be divided among the room/apartment/house residents.”
- All illegal drugs are banned on campus.
- If found with illegal drugs, local law enforcement will be informed and further legal actions will likely be pursued by them.
There are obviously many more restrictions, which can be found in the Student Handbook.
Social gatherings are a major part of McDaniel, and of the college experience in general. However, there are some important things to consider when planning one.
First, the aforementioned social hosting rules apply to all people who would supply alcohol to underage students or allow such to be done at their event. If you’re hosting an event and underage students are drinking, understand that you will be held accountable.
Second, as many may know, the unofficial policy on warnings has become stricter in the past few years. While in years prior parties would get a warning before being broken up, they are now simply being broken up at the first visit by campus safety. Keep this in mind.
Lastly, noise will get you shut down. If you leave the windows open as you blast music, sooner or later campus safety is going to come by and investigate. So if you can be heard across the entirety of North Village, get ready to get shut down pretty quickly.
If you have a vehicle on campus, there are a few things to make sure of. Firstly, make sure that the car has a temporary or permanent parking pass; otherwise, it will be ticketed or potentially towed.
Secondly, be careful where you park. Stadium, North Village, North Village Overflow, Whiteford and Admissions are the only lots that are open 24/7 to students (except on football game weekends, when Stadium closes). All other lots are marked for faculty and staff during the day, and cars not moved from there will be ticketed.
Ticketing usually occurs early in the morning (from 7-9 AM), and so if you are not one to get up early, make sure your car is in a proper parking lot before you go to sleep.
On the weekends, holidays, and days school is not in session, parking rules do not apply.
Like it or not, students will be interacting with Campus Safety for the entirety of their time at McDaniel College, sometimes in good ways, other times not so much so. However, if students understand the means in which Campus Safety acts, and are able to act in an intelligent and informed manner around them, then they should be able to keep out of sticky situations.