A response from Simmons Chief of Police
In the February 26 edition of the Simmons Voice, an Opinion piece was published entitled ‘Public safety enforces unsafe policy’, written by staff writer Jessie Kuenzel. Below is my response.
It is the goal of Simmons Public Safety to help as many students as possible; however there are many factors involved including staffing levels, time of day, conflicts with other calls for service, and policies which protect both the College and officers from liability, and students from further injury.
Our policy is to provide transportation to the Simmons Health Clinic or a hospital for students seeking non life-threatening medical assistance that is sanctioned by a medical professional. It is not permissible for Public Safety to transport a student to any place but a hospital or the Health Center, as this would circumvent the Emergency Management System (EMS). All Public Safety employees are trained first responders, but medical training is very basic and limited to stabilizing individuals until EMS professionals can transport.
The purpose of providing transport to the hospital or the Simmons Health Center is to ensure that a person complaining of pain or injury is delivered to a qualified medical professional and not simply brought to the residence campus in the event that medical attention is needed.
In the case of the student who was the subject of the Voice article, Public Safety encountered all of the factors outlined above. Staffing levels were low due to the time of day (night) and officers were simultaneously responding to another medical call on the Residence Campus. Despite these challenges, we offered the student several options including: offering to find a wheelchair, a Public Safety walking escort, and offering to call a cab service. Ultimately, the student chose to walk back to the residence campus herself with the assistance of friends.
I understand how students can at times be frustrated by Public Safety policies, especially when it may seem that something like a ride to the residence campus is a simple and easy task. The policies we have in place are consistent with best practices in public safety; we follow them carefully in order to ensure the continued safety of Simmons College. Simmons Public Safety takes pride in its commitment to the safety and well being of the Simmons community, including students, faculty, and staff.
Sean T. Collins
Chief of Police