Recently, Towson University officially opened its new Public Safety building. The open house began with remarks from Joe Oster, President Loeschke and Bernie Gerst, and was followed by guided tours. Please see the official newsroom write up, Grand Opening of New Public Safety Building, if you want a more professional report. I am not going to go over the details or a play-by-play of the open house. Instead, I want to share my reaction to this impressive facility.
To begin with, the conference room (where the opening remarks were held) felt like a command center, with four large monitors streaming various displays or tuned to various computer programs. This became all the more impressive upon learning that there is an actual “command center” (a state-of-the-art communications center) currently in the works. This communications center will be capable of handling all manner of Public Safety communications, from routine communications, including a top-of-the-line radio system, to many different types of emergency communications.
The tour showcased the whole building, from the new high-capacity storage shelving to the secured evidence lockers. The armory was one of the most interesting stops along the tour. The TUPD displayed an impressive commitment to safety, proper training, and proper handling of their weapons – and not just their firearms, but non-lethal and defensive weapons, too. This stop also displayed the new emergency response chairs, designed to slide down stairs in order to quickly evacuate disable persons from buildings.
The new building also has improved processing facilities, including a sally port and a new processing area, complete with two modern holding cells and an interrogation room. The security measures in place through this area, as well as the rest of the building, are incredible detailed, well thought-out, and most importantly, secure – escaping would be a rather difficult and complicated endeavor. And even though the holding cells are designated modern, they don’t look too comfortable or cozy. I do not recommend visiting this area unless you are on a tour.
The structure itself looks phenomenal. And as Bernie Gerst pointed out, the Public Safety building’s location is fitting; directly across from the new campus gateway, it reinforces Towson University’s dedication to campus safety.
Admittedly, my first reaction to all this technology, facility design and capability (& firepower) was, “WOW! This is awesome!” However, my second, more adult reaction was, “Does Towson University really need all this? The advanced communications center, the armory, the sally port and prisoner processing and holding cell facilities?” Hopefully, the answer is “No.” Hopefully Towson University does not need all this. But IF anything ever happened, IF there were a disaster or emergency, I can say with the utmost confidence that I feel safe knowing that the TUPD and the Office of Public Safety are prepared and ready.