Two Bucknell Pubic Safety Officers posing in front of a Public Safety car
Photo: Emily Paine
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From left: Staff Sergeant Colbey Russell and Officer Shamar Whitmore wear new uniforms and body cameras; their vehicle features a new wrap.
Public Safety Works to Enhance Campus Relationships
by Mike Ferlazzo
Since arriving on campus in 2022, Bucknell University Chief of Public Safety Anthony Morgan has instituted several new initiatives to strengthen community relationships and public trust while striving for excellence.

Under Morgan’s leadership, Bucknell became one of the first two universities in the nation to implement the Guardian Score law enforcement assessment tool, which was featured in a Washington Post story. Public Safety officers now hand out business cards with a QR code following all interactions with members of the community. The QR code leads to a Guardian Score survey that collects feedback on the experience.

“The more data we get, the better our response to concerns,” Morgan says. “We want to make sure we’re treating people with equity. This helps to validate our program and highlight areas that we can improve upon.”

Some of the most visible changes are apparent when Public Safety officers arrive on the scene for community interactions. They now drive vehicles clad in Bucknell orange and blue and wear body cameras over a more relaxed, less intimidating uniform. The department is testing out the new look, which came in response to student feedback and is designed to break down barriers between the department and the campus community it serves.

“We certainly want to be seen as more approachable, and we recognize from students that our appearance can be a barrier to relationship-building,” Morgan says.

The addition of body cameras to uniforms is a critical aspect of Public Safety’s work moving forward. Morgan says the cameras both enhance officers’ investigative tools and provide greater accountability.

“Anything that aids transparency and gives a clearer picture of what occurred is important,” Morgan says. “I’ve heard from students the call for greater transparency and wanting to know what occurs within an incident, and this allows us to provide a clear and neutral viewpoint of what occurred.”

The community can also now consult the Public Safety Policy Manual, which has been updated and posted online. While the internet posting of such manuals is legally required in many states, it is not in Pennsylvania.

Morgan also has added a new assistant director of public safety, community engagement & partnerships role, which will support the community centered implementation of Public Safety’s service delivery model. That person will work closely with the new Campus Safety & Advisory Committee, chaired by students, which began its work in fall 2022.

To enhance communication with students, Morgan is hosting student-only public safety forums and has plans to create a greater social media presence. Morgan is also exploring the creation of a hybrid response model, with a new, unarmed staff member who can respond to non-criminal complaints such as excessive noise, lockouts and dead car batteries.