By Adrain Hedden
With the new security command center up and running in the parking structure, Tony Warren can now finish his last semester at Washtenaw Community College in peace.
Although the 47-year-old Ypsilanti father of two was glad to have easier and quicker access to his classes, the human services major was even more supportive of the relocation of the campus security office to the second floor of the structure, to safe guard his daughters taking evening classes.
“I really think the new location will help,” Warren said. “I have two daughters (ages 18 and 21) and I’m grateful that they will be watched over at night, when it’s dark.”
Personnel are grateful, too.
With his new state-of-the-art dispatch equipment now operational, allowing for more camera coverage and a locker room allowing for the storage of other clothing and equipment such as rain gear, Director of Safety and Security Jacques Desrosiers couldn’t feel more prepared to protect and serve the student body.
“We are very appreciative,” Desrosiers said. “We are much more centrally located and connected to the parking structure and campus. We can keep our eyes on more things that are going on, and there’s more room for our staff to do their jobs.”
But the larger station may take up too much space according to some students. Richard Napier, a 23-year-old mechanical engineering major from Ypsilanti, questions the new office’s relocation and resizing, submitting that parking needs all the room it can get at WCC.
“It was kind of pointless to move safety and security,” Napier said. “It’s just taking up more room that could be used for spots.”
Yet employees at the command center are pleased at the expansion.
“I love it; it’s very nice,” said Barb LaFleur, secretary of campus safety and security. “Very spacious and modern, much better than what we had before.”
While greeting visitors to the command center and managing the school’s “lost and found,” LaFleur looks forward to providing better service to students on campus.
“Customers can come up to the window more,” LaFleur said. “We’re much more customer-service oriented.”
Utilizing the two jumbo-screen monitors to oversee the campus, dispatchers now have more room to move about the office, and to pair up with a second officer during special events. The dispatch office also has radio monitors to listen in on the Washtenaw County Sherriff’s Department and for broadcasts of weather emergencies.
Soon Desrosiers will add a third screen in his dispatch office dedicated to the parking structure, a place he sees as requiring patience while its rules are observed.
At the structure, Desrosiers reprimanded five smoking violators in the first two days, a number that is rarely reached monthly.
“I understand that people need time to adjust,” Desrosiers said. “We are enforcing the smoking ban. Put out that first smoke when you come into the structure and light up when you leave.”