A ‘brand new look’ for SCS
Wilfrid Laurier University’s Special Constable Service has a whole new approach to serving the campus community.
Tammy Lee began her role as SCS manager in February, after working as a sergeant since 2007. Under her management, she envisions a more approachable, transparent department for Laurier students, staff and faculty.
“The department is taking a whole different direction. We’re more customer-focused,” she said. “Not just the students, but all the stakeholders too.”
Lee explained SCS has been building stronger partnerships with other parties on campus, such as the dean of students office, the Wellness Centre and Residence Life.
“Before we were very much a silo on our own,” she said. “The communication didn’t flow in and the communication didn’t flow out of our department. We’re really changing that. I think all the doors have been opened now.”
Lee explained that she believes these relationships are the key to the success and safety of campus.
Ultimately, Lee hopes to strengthen trust between SCS and members of the university community, including students.
The use of two student liaisons and ideally including SCS further in campus tours and the Welcome Centre are ways they hope to increase that trust and approachability, she explained.
Lee also said special constables will be taking a more proactive approach with safety this year, rather than a reactive one.
“Our community is Laurier: the Laurier campus and around the campus. I don’t want to just be reacting to a situation if we have an incident. I want us to be involved in that community, which means being involved with the stakeholder.”
She hopes by having SCS as a support system to students, they will be able to turn incidents into learning experiences.
“One advantage that we have over regional or municipal police force here is that we have definite alternative methods — we have discretions that we can use,” she said. “I’m not going to say that we’re never going to charge or never going to arrest, because there will be circumstances that we have to.”
“If we can send the student through that process and have learning occur, compared to having them inundated with a criminal charge hanging over their head — because that’s something that doesn’t go away for a very long time.”
However, she explained there is still “zero tolerance” when it comes to outside people coming on campus and committing criminal acts and potentially harming students, staff and faculty.
Currently, SCS is working on a safety application called AppArmor for the Laurier community; however it is still waiting on funding.
“We already have the emergency notification system, which is functioning very well,” Lee said. “But the AppArmor is almost like a partnership — other universities are getting involved in it — it’s a partnership between all the stakeholders, so it’s a safety app for all students, staff and faculty on campus.”
In addition, the department is in the process of rebranding, with new uniforms, logos and cruisers.
“It’s honestly a whole new branding of SCS. A new direction, new look and hopefully a new feel to all the customers that we serve — whether it’s students, staff or faculty, or visitors that come on campus,” Lee said.