Searching for justice in bags

Officers on bicycles are a common sight for any students who find themselves wandering around campus at night. But most students are unaware that in most cases these officers are not Campus Police officers; rather, they are the College’s cadre of security officers.

These men, currently only three in total, serve as extra sets of eyes and ears for Campus Police. They serve as both dispatchers, answering emergency calls, or on patrol, either on foot or bike.

“Our uniforms are a lot like the Campus Police uniform,” Jamie Nazario, who has served as a security officer for four years, said. Indeed, the badges and the patches are the only differences between a security officer uniform and a Campus Police uniform. Even their blue shirts have only a slight difference in shade, making it difficult to tell one from the other.

Officers on bicycles are “the majority of the time” security officers, according to Nazario. Campus Police rarely uses bicycles on patrol.

The similarities, however, end there. Security officers have a much different role than their police officer counterparts, according to Michael Bell, administrative sergeant for Campus Police and supervisor to the security officers.

Security officers do not have the right to arrest anyone. They can only stop people they deem suspicious and ask for their College ID, just as any faculty or staff member can, as stated on the back of the ID.

According to Bell, their right to search students ends there.

However, Nazario asserted that security officers do have this right.

“I believe students here signed a social contract and I believe it states that any faculty can search their bags,” he said, but The Signal could find no such statement in a copy of the social contract.

In addition to these tasks, security officers are also aids to the police during special events. Security officers also assist with fire drills and escort duty.

There are positions for four total security officers, though only three are filled currently. They patrol the campus from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. in two shifts.

Security officers are not trained in a police academy. “Generally, we train them in-house,” Bell said.

Judging solely from appearances, however, one of the only visible differences between the two groups is that it says “security” instead of “police” on the back of the jackets of their nearly identical uniforms.

“Our job is just to report what we see on campus to the police,” Nazario said.

“Their main idea is to be extra eyes and ears for us and you guys,” Bell said.

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Myles Ma