The combination of May’s beautiful spring weather, an increase in construction activity, and the ongoing pandemic moving many activities outside means there are simply more people out and about the city these days. Whether you’re stopping to capture the perfect photo of Drexel’s campus in bloom or getting in your car to run errands, Drexel Public Safety (DPS) encourages pedestrians and drivers alike to be aware of your surroundings and follow best safety practices along the way.
Also in this issue: We remember our fallen officers in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day, get to know several members of the DPS team, and learn more about “Your Safety Is Our Goal” situational preparedness presentations.
Pedestrian Safety: Laws & Tips
The rights and duties of pedestrians vary greatly depending on the situation. It's important to familiarize yourself with Pennsylvania laws (or the laws in your state) as well as standard safety tips:
LAW: Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available. If no sidewalk is available, you must walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
TIP: Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to make sure you are seen.
LAW: Motorists must yield to pedestrians crossing the street at marked and unmarked intersections; however, the pedestrian must either be within the crosswalk or affirmatively indicate an intent to cross.
TIP: Be visible at all times. At night, wear reflective materials, apply reflective tape and/or use a flashlight.
TIP: Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible.
LAW: Pedestrians shall not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute a hazard.
TIP: Stay alert at all times. That means putting away your electronic devices while on the move so you can stay focused on your path.
Driver Safety Tips
Drivers are advised to use caution, stay alert, avoid distractions and look out for changing traffic patterns while traveling through and around our campus, particularly in work zones and at intersections with a high volume of pedestrian traffic. There are many bike lanes on the roads winding through Drexel’s campus; be sure to stay aware and share the road with cyclists. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says when driving, "Start SMART, Stay SMART":
· S - SEAT belt on, seat adjusted
· M - MIRRORS adjusted and clear
· A - AIR conditioning, heating and defrost controls set
· R - RADIO and audio panel set
· T - THOROUGHLY check the area for traffic, people or objects
· S - Watch your SPEED
· M - Frequently check your MIRRORS
· A - AVOID distractions
· R - Remember the RULES of the road
· T - Give yourself enough TIME to reach your destination
May 15 is Peace Officers Memorial Day, an annual National Police Week event that honors local, state and federal officers who have lost their lives or sustained disabling injury in the line of duty.
Peace Officers Memorial Day
May 15 is Peace Officers Memorial Day, an annual National Police Week event that honors local, state and federal officers who have lost their lives or sustained disabling injury protecting our families, neighborhoods and cities. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all in-person events for Police Week have been postponed to October in Washington, D.C.
This year, hundreds of names will be engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, bringing the total to 22,611 officers killed in the lined of duty memorialized at this location. A Virtual Candlelight Vigil will be held on May 13 at 8 p.m. to memorialize those who sacrificed their lives for their communities. If you would like to participate in the vigil and receive additional information, register here.
Community Commitments: “Your Safety Is Our Goal”
Being aware of your surroundings and recognizing situations that are potentially dangerous are key to keeping yourself safe. Public Safety is now offering monthly, virtual, interactive presentations on situational preparedness that educate students, faculty and professional staff about measures they can take to prevent themselves from being victims of a crime. The sessions provide tips to encourage the University community not to be scared, but to be prepared.
Hosted by Public Safety police officers and employees, the next session will be held May 25 from 3 to 4 p.m. These presentations are open to the entire Drexel community. To RSVP and receive the Zoom link, please contact Officer Tom Cirone at firstname.lastname@example.org or Officer Kim McClay at email@example.com, or fill out this Qualtrics form.
Officers Cirone and McClay answered a few questions to tell the community more about their roles and what to expect at a “Your Safety Is Our Goal” presentation:
Tell us about your role at Drexel — what does it mean to be a “Community Relations Officer”?
As community relations officers, our role and responsibilities are different from that of traditional patrol duties, and this provides us an opportunity to ‘police’ in a different way. We are able to educate and address the concerns of various stakeholders throughout the Drexel community.
What does “situational awareness” mean?
Situational awareness is knowing what’s going on around us, which we believe will lead to a safer environment for all. We stress this concept in all of our presentations and emphasize how important it is in keeping our community safe.
What can participants expect to get out of one of your virtual sessions?
We hope to educate participants about the Public Safety resources available to them and help them understand the important role we all play in keeping the community safe.
How long have you been at Drexel, and what’s your favorite part of your job?
Both of us retired from law enforcement careers in New Jersey and have been with DUPD for just over nine and a half years. Our favorite part of our job is building positive relationships with faculty, staff, students/student groups, and the community.
Employee Spotlight: Meet Sergeant Fernando Santiago
Better known as “Fendy” to his friends, family and colleagues, Sergeant Fernando Santiago has been with the Drexel University Police Department for 12 years. He is a firearms instructor and works diligently on Drexel’s active shooter preparedness. To him, the best part of his job at Drexel is teaching others — and knowing the integral role he plays in preparing fellow officers to keep themselves and others safe from danger.
Fernando began his law enforcement career at Temple University Police Department for 14 years; however, his first job ever was at age 12, working at a clothing store with his sister. Fernando’s favorite food on campus is Ed’s boneless wings from Ed’s Buffalo Wings & Pizza, well done. He is also passionate about hunting and fishing, having even taken trips to do so abroad. Some facts that others might be surprised to know about Fernando: he enjoys classical music, won the Golden Gloves for Boxing in 2000, and raced motorcycles for thirteen years.
When asked to offer a message to the Drexel community, Fernando said, “Please take some time to get to know a police officer personally.” If you see Fernando on campus, be sure to say hello!
- We’re here for you when you need us. Drexel Public Safety urges you to call 215.895.2222 immediately if you are the victim of or witness to a crime. Our Communications Center is staffed 24-7 to serve you, whether or not you choose to remain anonymous when making a report. It is vital that crimes are reported promptly to Drexel Police so that they can be investigated, and so that Public Safety can connect the victim(s) with proper resources.
- Take precautions against vehicle thefts. Public Safety encourages students, faculty, and professional staff to be alert, take precautions and report crimes and suspicious activities. Remember to lock your vehicles, remove your keys from the vehicle and never leave your car running, even if you are just going into a store for a quick errand. Park in well-lit areas and do not leave any items, including small change, in view inside of your vehicle. For more safety tips and information about vehicle thefts, please review the Triangle feature on the topic.
215.895.2222 or 911
To learn more about Drexel Public Safety, visit drexel.edu/publicsafety