Wheaton College Laying Off Public Safety Officers, Hiring Private Security
The public safety department, which unionized about two years ago, has arrest powers but its officers do not carry guns.
NORTON, Mass. — Wheaton College is replacing most of its public safety officers with a private security firm.
Approximately a dozen public safety department officers, who have arrest powers but do not carry guns, will work until Jan. 11 when the transition will begin, reports The Sun Chronicle. The department’s director and one lieutenant will remain.
“We do not comment publicly on personnel matters but will provide organizational updates to our community when appropriate,” director of communications Sandy Coleman said of the switch.
The public safety officers patrol the 478-acre campus around the clock and handle safety and parking issues on campus. Wheaton has a total undergraduate enrollment of approximately 1,774 students.
According to the department’s website, the officers have extensive training in law, crisis management, crime prevention, investigative procedures, fire safety, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid, and fire and emergency medical services.
Additionally, the department conducts various safety educational classes and specially trained instructors lead the campus’ Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) program.
Some of the college’s public safety department, which unionized about two years ago, has been working for the college for more than 30 years.
According to an email announcing the change, the school has hired Securitas Security, a private security services group, to patrol the campus.
Securitas employs more than 370,000 worldwide. It also more than 400 branches in the U.S., including one in Boston, which is located approximately 40 miles from the school.
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