All aspects of what it means to be safe on Broward College campuses
Safety should always be a main priority. One should always know where emergency exits are and to make smart choices. September was National Campus Safety Awareness Month, with Broward College hosting a slew of campus safety days throughout the month of September.
Such events were hosted at multiple locations including the Miramar West Center and the Central, South and North campuses. There were a myriad of organizations present including the Davie Police Department, the U.S. Coast Guard and the FBI among others.
Department of Safety, Security & Emergency Preparedness (DSSEP) Sargeant of crime prevention, Daniel Hall indicated that law enforcement agencies are invited to BC to essentially show off their ”bells and whistles” including a bulletproof SWAT car and Swat tools (shield, hammer, breaching tools), scuba gear for searches in the water, and service animals among other safety-related elements. “Campus safety is tackling every avenue to make sure that students feel safe on campus,” said Sgt. Hall.
Thrown directly into action, there was a K9 demonstration, where K9 Officer Ryan Shannon and his trusted Belgian Shepherd companion, Fox tackled down a “suspect.” Officer Shannon explained that he had been with Fox for approximately 3 and a half years. “The primary focus for our K9’s is criminal apprehension which is to catch ‘bad guys,’ their secondary job is to detect just about anything; but ours are mainly trained to detect narcotics or explosives,” said Officer Shannon.
The K9’s were called to action last year at BC’s Bailey Hall when the prospective governors (Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum) were expressing their viewpoints and rebuttals at the 2018 Florida Gubernatorial Debate. Prior to the debate, Fox along with other K9’s searched the building for explosives, as a cautionary measure to ensure the safety of the prospective governors and attendees alike.
Broward College has several full-time officers that are signed exclusively to the [Central] campus since BC doesn’t have their own police department. Moreover, the Davie Police Department covers all the policing on Central Campus.
For Francisco Lizano, Lieutenant of the DSSEP, safety is a very broad subject. Some people may say that safety is walking into the building and knowing the fire alarms are working while someone else might be concerned with the slip hazards on the sidewalk.
“Safety is a very broad subject and on a campus with this size, you are constantly thinking about a multitude of things; moreover, when we are patrolling as Campus Safety, not only are we looking for people that are not supposed to be here, but we are also looking at the hazards in the
sidewalk, checking to see if the fire escape is working and whether there are obstructions to any emergency door,” said Lt. Lizano.
Campus Safety is asking everyone to have their ID [student and faculty inclusive]. For instance, when a professor calls the DSSEP to open a classroom door, it is customary for Campus Safety to ask a professor for a faculty ID. “We are going to ask if an individual has an ID that proves that you are a professor here [Broward College] that requires a classroom door to be open,” said Lt. Lizano. Additionally, the DSSEP works closely with the Business Dean in regard to class schedules. Campus Safety has a master roster of all the classes on the campus for the fall term and are aware of when classes get moved or cancelled.
“I just want students to be aware of their environment. We put on these events here on campus but the truth is, that you are on campus for a short amount of time. We should have an awareness of safety and security wherever we are at—malls, movie theaters and even in one’s neighborhood. You should be aware of what is normal, not normal,” said Lt. Lizano.
For further information, the Campus Safety hotline is 954-201-HELP (4357). The Campus Safety website is broward.edu/safety.