Posted August 23, 2023

A fall semester update from Temple University’s Department of Public Safety

With classes set to begin Monday, Aug. 28, Temple details how it has been working to enhance campus safety.

TUPD office with K-9 officer pictured.
Photography By: 
Ryan S. Brandenberg
The Department of Public Safety has been hard at work over the summer, adding a new, one-stop personal safety app; increasing patrols through a new 12-hour shift pilot program; expanding Allied Security staffing; reaching a new, expanded agreement with the police union; and beginning to replace and upgrade nearly 500 cameras.

While most of Temple University’s students have been away for the summer, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) has remained hard at work. Over the last few months, the team has worked diligently ahead of the fall semester to further enhance safety within the university’s patrol zone. 

“One of the nice things about summer is that campus does get a bit quieter, which provides us with an opportunity to really focus on the public safety priorities we have set for the coming academic year,” said Jennifer Griffin, vice president for public safety. “We have accomplished a great deal during the summer months, both from an operational and organizational standpoint, and we’re eager to continue serving and protecting the Temple community when everyone arrives back on campus later this month.” 

Significant portions of the focus this summer have been on police officer recruitment and retention, restructuring of the department, and technology and equipment upgrades. This month, the university also launched TUSafe, its new one-stop personal safety app. The app includes enhanced features such as new key resources within the app. One of those features is a new one-touch panic button, which specifically came at the request of Temple community members. Additional new features are campus maps of Main and Health Sciences Center and a flight shuttle stop map. It also retains all of the features that were available in RAVE Temple Guardian, including the ability to chat, text with or call Temple Police, call 911, start a virtual or friend safe walk, or request a walking escort from public safety. 

A snapshot of some of the other enhancements and improvements from DPS include the following. 

  • Less than one year after agreeing to a new four-year contract, Temple and the Temple University Police Association (TUPA) reached an agreement on additional terms to the contract that provide even better compensation for police officers. 
  • Drawing from evidence-based research and best practices from other law enforcement agencies across the country, the department has been restructured so that it can better serve the Temple community. As part of the restructuring, a number of new leadership and operational positions will increase the department’s capabilities and competencies. 
  • In addition to new or upgraded equipment, the department is also exploring gun detection technology, automated license plate readers and GPS for police officers. The department has also purchased a new report management system (RMS) that will allow better data collection, and a computer-aided dispatch interface to increase its ability to utilize data to inform hot spot resource allocation. All police officers will also be receiving new cellular phones with the new RMS to allow for mobile reporting outside of their vehicles. 
  • Police officers are now working 12-hour shifts as part of a new pilot program. This has had a positive effect on both officer wellness and staffing of patrol shifts, as there are now an additional three to six officers patrolling within the patrol zone on some shifts. 
  • The university has worked to increase its outsourced security staffing. In particular, Allied Security bike patrols within the patrol zone will increase by 25% this fall, and strategic deployment will enable increased engagement with residents in a particular patrol area. 
  • Nearly 500 new cameras have been purchased to replace older equipment and will be installed in the coming academic year. Eighteen Code Blue emergency phones are being updated with 360-degree cameras, which will be completed within the first few weeks of the semester. Additionally, DPS is purchasing five additional cameras, which will be donated to the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) to be installed in off-campus areas within Temple’s patrol zone that currently do not have camera coverage. The DPS has also signed an agreement to access the PPD cameras located within the patrol zone. 

Read on through this Temple Now piece for more detail on each of these initiatives. 

Recruitment and retention 

Temple University and TUPA’s new four-year contract includes enhanced pay and benefits for police officers to help boost recruitment during a national shortage of police officers. Some of the key highlights of the new contract include 

  • increased salary and benefits comparable to PPD,   
  • increased one-time contributions to their defined contribution retirement plan, 
  • signing bonuses of $2,000 for newly hired officers,   
  • retention bonuses of $2,700 for current police officers, and 
  • lateral incentive program that allows current police officers to transition to Temple at the three-year step salary if they have three years of continuous service at another agency. 

As part of its enhanced recruitment efforts, the DPS recently welcomed Amber James as its first associate director of organization administration. Her primary focus will be devising strategy to recruit highly talented police officers, security officers, dispatchers and staff members for the department. Together with her colleagues, James already has revised and enhanced recruitment messaging and marketing materials. 

All police officers, detectives and supervisors have now received their first retention bonus installment of $1,200, made possible in part through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency grant. The DPS is immensely grateful for the commonwealth’s support. 

12-hour shift pilot program 

This summer, the DPS introduced a new pilot program, which has police officers working 12-hour shifts instead of traditional eight-hour shifts.  

“There is no overstating the impact that this has had when it comes to officer wellness and staffing,” Griffin said. “Officers are working the same total hours per month, but now just 15 days per month compared to 21 with the eight-hour shifts. In total, officers will get an additional 72 days off each year, and every other weekend is a three-day long weekend which is vitally important. Police work is a high-stress profession, and police officers must have time to rest, recharge and recover. 

“We have also found that the 12-hour shifts have significantly increased the number of officers on patrol,” Griffin continued. “Officers are working fewer days, making it less likely that an officer might get sick and have to call out.” 

With the 12-hour shift model in place, on some shifts there are three to six more police officers patrolling the patrol zone. Having more police officers on patrol allows for different resource allocation strategy implementation, as well as more time for officers to perform proactive and engaging foot patrols to increase visibility in the community and deter crime. 

Reorganization update 

Drawing from evidence-based research and best practices from some of the top-performing law enforcement agencies in the country, the DPS has been reorganized in an effort to increase professionalism, training and organizational development of the department.  

A number of new roles have already been filled. In June, Deputy Director of Organizational Affairs Michael Smith, Director of Tactics and Professional Development Chris Willard, and Associate Director of Organization Administration (HR) Amber James joined the department. Joshua Nussbaum recently joined the department as its deputy director of emergency management. Thomas Macartney will begin as the department’s sergeant of investigations, and Chuong Doan will start as the director of finance and budget in September. The department will also soon welcome its first director of communications. 

Additional leadership and operational positions will be added in the months to come. Searches are currently under way for an accreditation manager, director of technology, director of emergency management and senior trainer. 

Allied Security and PPD supplemental patrols update 

The university continues to contract with the PPD for supplemental patrols. The level of these patrols was maintained during the summer months to ensure continuity and to ensure that the new agreement, which went into effect on March 1, continues to run smoothly. The new agreement focuses on a combination of deterrence through presence, patrol and proactive policing. It has led to increased officer engagement and contact with the public, foot patrols, business place safety checks, and, when appropriate, enforcement activity. 

Allied Universal provides more than 300 unarmed security personnel for the university. Over the summer, following discussions with and in coordination with DPS, Allied held multiple large-scale hiring events, so that the department can increase and better deploy outsourced security. 

The additional officers hired from these events will allow Allied to increase its number of bike security officers in the patrol zone by approximately 25%, prioritizing presence in high pedestrian locations like Cecil B. Moore Avenue and Broad Street and within student residential areas that are off campus but within Temple’s patrol zone.  

Camera upgrades 

A total of 494 of the approximately 1,500 existing cameras have been prioritized to be replaced as part of a lifecycle management initiative. These are primarily located at the street level, interior locations, elevators, building entries, exits and rooftops. These new and upgraded cameras will allow for the addition of new artificial intelligence software that can be used to detect guns and automatically read license plates. 

Temple is purchasing five cameras, which it will donate to the PPD for installation in areas within the university’s patrol zone that currently do not have camera coverage. Eighteen Code Blue emergency phones are also in the process of being retrofitted with 360-degree cameras, and these installations are expected to be completed near the start of the fall semester. In the past, these highly visible beacons have served as a fully self-contained emergency communication device for any member of the Temple community who might be in urgent need of assistance. They will continue to serve that need while also further enhancing the university’s surveillance and investigative portfolio of resources. 

Finally, DPS has signed an agreement to gain access to the cameras within the patrol zone that are operated by the PPD.  

“We hope to have access to those cameras in the near future,” Griffin said. “From a safety and investigative standpoint, this is a game-changer, as Temple has not previously had access to any cameras other than those on the university’s system.” 

This fall, the city of Philadelphia is also expected to implement its lighting renewal project throughout the city, which will positively impact the areas around the university within and outside the patrol zone.