Interim Chief of Public Safety discusses campus engagement

By Julie Nickerson
Staff Writer

Chief Mickens at a panel

Photo: FEMA.org

Dr. Meloyde Batten-Mickens was welcomed to the position of Interim Chief of Public Safety at Simmons College in early November. Simmons College Chief Information Officer and Associate Vice President Debra Orr introduced her as “a seasoned campus  safety leader with more than 20 years of experience in public safety, emergency management, and organizational leadership.”

Chief Mickens holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Management, as well aa Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership.

Most recently coming from Gallaudet University, a world leader in education and development for deaf and hard of hearing students, Mickens had a different role, although one similarity she has found between the two colleges is the vibrant community that exists on each campus.

“I’ve found Simmons to be such a giving community. You’re all studying to be nurses, social workers…studying to be leaders that will change the world,” said Chief Mickens. “This is a wonderful close-knit community, and I’m really excited to be a part of it.”

Since her first week on campus, Chief Mickens has met with the SGA president Nguyet Ly, whom she calls Madame President, and has enjoyed getting to know many of the students here on campus.

Chief Mickens came to campus shortly after the first lockdown drill took place on Simmons’ campus, and while her focus is to plan, implement, and communicate strategies that ensure the safety of the community and campus facilities, she is also driven to connect with the students.

“I want to know what students want from us and what we can do together,” she said, “because public safety is a community responsibility where the public safety department cannot be the only source of campus safety.  Students have to want to be engaged. This is our campus, and we need to own it.”

While she commended all involved in the lockdown drill and noted her appreciation of students’, faculty’s, and staff’s patience, she acknowledged there is a lot of room for growth.

Chief Mickens noted that the first lockdown drill provided a learning experience for everyone, and such drills are always good training for everyone, including the Public Safety team. Chief Mickens indicated that it is common practice to run drills and exercises that will continually improve and empower the community. Action plans are underway to strengthen emergency response and systems.

Chief Mickens also noted that the Simmons College Police Department received certification from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission last June and “certification is the first step of a two-step process toward full accreditation.”

The Public Safety team members are working diligently to meet over 300 standards to achieve full accreditation by the summer of 2016.

“This is a very impressive honor as this designation demonstrates excellence in police management operations, and technical support activities; additionally, this is very impressive as there are only 6 certified and 11 accredited  campus police departments across the state.”

She remarked on the success of the RAD self-defense program that students enjoy with police officers and looks forward to further engaging students. “Perhaps it’s providing a variety of safety classes, survival skills, something to give students a greater feeling of empowerment,” Chief Mickens said.

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