Chief Tom Saccenti Launches Campus Dispatch
On August 1st, 2017 Chief Tom Saccenti launched the nations first centralized dispatch center specifically designed for the higher education environment. "College and University security and police departments have very different needs than their municipal partners" Saccenit said. "We have found that their call volume is over 100% higher that a municipal agency". Saccenti says that this can be attributed to the relationship that college law enforcement officers develop with the campus community. "They just feel more comfortable calling the police for help, or just calling to ask a question"
While this level of trust is an excellent example of community policing, it does pose real problems for some campuses according to Saccenti. College law enforcement still gets the very real calls for service, calls such as a man with a gun, assaults or robberies. But because they are much smaller than most cities the resources given to the campus police department usually results in the officer on patrol answering a cell phone to take those calls for service. This can cause not only a liability problem but an officer safety concern. When officers are distracted from the job at hand, because they have to answer the phone, they open themselves up to potential risk. However, the officer cannot ignore the ringing phone, even if they are in a high stress situation, because the caller on the other end of the phone may be having an emergency as well.
This was the genesis of Campus Dispatch. Universities partner with Chief Tom Saccenti to tie their radio system into the centralized dispatching center. The institution then forwards all the telephone calls to the Campus Dispatch agency. Dispatchers take the caller information, determine the type of service needed, and then dispatch an available officer to the service call. Campus Dispatch is able to use a piece of technology called an IP Radio Gateway to tie into the agencies radio system so that the agency will not need to upgrade their existing communication technology to utilize the service.
"We primarily focus on agencies that have no form of dispatch" Saccenti says. "However, if they do have a dispatch but are in a budget reduction phase, we are able to replace their existing dispatch at a rate of savings of approximately 25%-50%."
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