Drexel University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) extends a warm welcome to all new and returning Dragons as we begin the 2021–2022 Academic Year! In last month’s newsletter, we provided a safety checklist of actions to take in preparation for the fall. Now that most of you are back on campus, we are presenting you with seven more practical steps you can take to protect yourself and your belongings, and to help cultivate a safe and healthy University community.
Also in this edition of Public Safety & U: Meet our four new officers, and sign up for one of our upcoming situational preparedness presentations!
Employee Spotlight: Meet Our 4 New Officers
From left to right: Drexel Police Officers Tim Adkins, Darren D’Ambrosio, Joseph Casciato and Kiser Terry.
The Drexel Police Department recently welcomed four new officers to its ranks:
Tim Adkins: Having aspirations of being a professional singer, Tim’s claim to fame came at the age of 12 when he got hired to sing alongside Celine Dion. But his passion for helping others pointed him in the direction of law enforcement, and his message to the community is: “We are all here to help each other.” Tim is an avid whitetail deer and upland bird hunter, and his favorite food on campus is breakfast from the Happy Sunshine food truck at 33rd and Arch streets.
Darren D’Ambrosio: When Darren isn’t working, he enjoys going out to eat and trying new restaurants with his girlfriend. He is most looking forward to getting to know the Drexel community better as he furthers his career with us.
Joseph Casciato: A Philadelphian with roots in South Jersey, Joe is a graduate of the 2015 Delaware County Municipal Police Academy and is interested in continuing his higher education here at Drexel. Joe is looking forward to further developing his skills as a police officer with a focus on community policing and crisis intervention. Off the job, he enjoys traveling and trout fishing. Joe encourages everyone to stop him and say hello when you see him on patrol.
Kiser Terry: Kiser is a Philadelphia native who went to Neshaminy High School. He attended Temple University, where he majored in communication studies and played football for three years. He later went on to Wagner College for his MBA. When not on the job, Kiser enjoys working out, eating, spending time with family, and going to church. He is also actively trying to learn how to speak Korean.
Seven More Ways to Stay Safe This Fall
Drexel Community Relations Officer Kim McClay provides a safety session to the men’s soccer team during Welcome Week.
- Did You Save That Number Yet? Okay, this one is a reiteration from last month, but that’s because it’s so easy and important to do: Add 215.895.2222 (Drexel Public Safety) to your mobile phone contacts list. If you are experiencing an emergency, notice any suspicious activity, need a walking escort, or want to reach out to us for any other reason, this number will connect you to the 24/7 Drexel Public Safety Communications Center, where trained dispatchers will answer and send help your way. (You may also call 911 during any emergency.)
- Keep Your DragonCard Close: You will need to carry your DragonCard with you at all times on campus in order to access campus buildings, so develop a system that ensures you will never forget it. Put it in your wallet, smartphone case, backpack, keychain, or wear it on a lanyard around your neck. Just be sure to always have it with you. And please do not prop doors or let strangers “piggyback” behind you to enter buildings.
- Use Drexel Shuttles and Walking Escorts: Drexel Real Estate and Facilities runs free shuttle buses along three routes: Center City (Dragon Route), Powelton/Spring Garden (University City), and Queen Lane. You must present your official Drexel ID and wear a mask to board a shuttle. View the shuttle schedules and safety protocols on the Drexel Real Estate and Facilities website. If you’re traveling on foot, Public Safety offers walking escorts within our patrol boundaries in University City upon request, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To request an escort, call 215.895.2222, use a blue-light emergency phone or ask any security or police officer on patrol.
- Secure Your Stuff: Most crimes on campus are unattended thefts, so be sure to always lock the doors of your residence and car, and safeguard your valuables — like bikes, laptops, skateboards, cell phones, larger headphones — no matter where you are. Use the bike racks provided on campus and secure your bike with a recommended U-lock. For extra peace of mind, register your property by bringing it to Drexel Police Headquarters at 3219 Arch St. to be logged. You can also use the lobby of headquarters as a “Safe Online Transaction Zone” when buying, selling and exchanging goods with folks you meet online.
- Tighten Up Your Data Security: Now is a great time to change/strengthen passwords, update the operating systems on your devices, and brush up on other data security best practices provided by Drexel IT to safeguard yourself and your private information from scams, viruses and other cyber threats.
- Get to Know Your Neighbors: Safe and healthy communities are built on respect, care and trust. As many of you settle into new homes or return to former residences in our West Philadelphia neighborhoods, be mindful of your role in developing a positive relationship with your neighbors. Introduce yourself to them and get to know them. Maintain your property and follow the rules for proper trash disposal. Take note of things like shared walls and the availability of off-street parking. And be sure to follow the University’s and city’s COVID-19 protocols. It’s the little things that go a long way toward cultivating a community of care.
- Take Care of Yourself: Finally, but most importantly, take time to care for yourself. The beginning of a new academic year is always a time of transition, but even more so this year. Talk to friends, colleagues and family members, or contact Drexel’s Counseling Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 215.895.1415. During off-hours or emergencies, call the on-call counselor at 215.416.3337. Faculty, professional staff and graduate students can access counseling through the Employee Assistance Program. Please know that Drexel’s Responsible Dragon Amnesty Policy ensures that students can seek medical attention or assistance any time without fear of disciplinary action. No matter the issue, we are here to ensure you get the help you need.
Learn More With “Your Safety Is Our Goal”
Community Relations Officer Tom Cirone (left) and Mario the Dragon pose in the official "Your Safety Is Our Goal" graphic.
Public Safety is offering its virtual, interactive presentation on situational preparedness, “Your Safety Is Our Goal,” once a month from September through December, both at noon and 6 p.m. to accommodate different schedules. To sign up for one of these sessions, please fill out our Qualtrics form and select your preferred date.
At “Your Safety Is Our Goal,” Drexel’s Community Relations Officers will teach you how to be aware of your surroundings, recognize potentially dangerous situations, and keep yourself safe. These tips will encourage you to think and act proactively – to be prepared, not scared.
If you have a community or group you would like us to present to, or would like to propose an alternate presentation time, please contact Officer Tom Cirone at email@example.com or Officer Kim McClay at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule based on your availability.
Community Commitments: Women’s Equality Day
On Aug. 26, the 101st anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment, Drexel Vice President of Public Safety Eileen Behr joined command staff from the Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania police departments in an event supporting equitable hiring, retention and promotion of women police officers. At this Women’s Equality Day event, they shared information on the recruitment process and other tips to help empower other women in law enforcement.
215.895.2222 or 911
To learn more about Drexel Public Safety, visit drexel.edu/publicsafety.