NJCU Public Safety Makes Presence Known Through Student Engagement
CS Higher Education Director of the Year Ronald Hurley has taken to social media to improve communication between the public safety department and students.
When New Jersey City University’s (NJCU) public safety department was on the hunt for a new director, they didn’t have to look any further than one of their very own alumni.
Ronald Hurley, who received his Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees from NJCU, rejoined the campus family in 2015 — this time as a professor and assistant director of public safety.
Hurley previously worked as a detective with the Jersey City Police Department for nearly 30 years. This experience equipped him with a wealth of knowledge to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff.
Higher Education Director of the Year Ronald Hurley
- Name: Ronald Hurley, Associate Vice President of Public Safety
- Campus: New Jersey City University (NJCU) is a 22-acre campus located in Jersey City, New Jersey. It enrolls approximately 8,500 students and employs 1,400 faculty and staff members.
- Department: The Department of Public Safety is a hybrid department made up of contract security officers and 41 nonsworn proprietary security officers.
Within less than a year of his hiring, Hurley went from overseeing the security department to additionally handling fire safety, parking and transportation, emergency management and access control — landing him a well-deserved promotion to associate vice president of public safety.
Although Hurley and his department’s increased presence has led to a decrease in campus crime, perhaps more notable are the efforts made to form relationships with its students.
While it may come as no surprise since he is now employed by his Alma Mater, Hurley says he believes in hiring current and former students who are interested in law enforcement or other service occupations. Hiring these students “gives them a great experience while giving the university great employees,” he says.
Hurley is also cognizant to treat students the same way he treats his staff.
“I stay approachable and right out in front with them, supporting them,” he says.
Public Safety Engages Students Through Social Media
To remain “out in front” of his students, Hurley and his team have taken to social media to create several campus-wide campaigns for improved visibility and communication between DPS and the campus community.
Hurley spearheaded the Did You Know? campaign, promoting student awareness of campus safety and security issues and the services the department offers. These social media pushes include information on jumpstarts provided by DPS employees, alcohol awareness, emergency response and transportation options, among others.
The department’s sexual assault awareness campaign, #NotOnMyCampusNJCU, has also produced thoughtful discussions about campus sexual assaults through social media.
Through the Did You Thank an Officer? campaign, the NJCU community is encouraged to express gratitude for the services DPS security officers provide to ensure their safety and security. This campaign has enabled officers to build relationships with students and has helped with community policing.
The department also utilizes social media to promote its annual “Coffee with a Cop” event, established as a way to break down the barriers between police officers and the citizens they serve by removing agendas and allowing opportunities to ask questions and voice concerns.
While open to the entire NJCU community, these events have had a large student turnout, allowing students to get to know the officers responsible for their safety on a personal level. (Story continues on next page.)