OCCC Police Collar New Headquarters
By: John Benson, Staff Writer
After more than a year of planning, renovation and construction, OCCC celebrated the completion of the new Campus Police Headquarters, Sept. 16, on the southeast side of campus between Faculty Circle and South May Avenue.
The headquarters’ opening marked the first time in modern memory when the campus police were housed in a building separate from the college’s Main building.
Speaking to a crowd of staff, administrators and faculty, OCCC Board of Regents Chairman Devry Youngblood, OCCC Police Chief Daniel Piazza, and OCCC President Jerry Stewart spoke about the historic change.
Piazza explained how the new building, which once served as the Child Development Center and Lab school, offered many improvements over the previous campus police station.
Size is one of its largest benefits, he said.
He noted the police force needed room to grow, as 38 full time, part time, and student workers worked out of one medium-sized room with no walls or cubicles in the Main building Room 1K8.
The new police headquarters building is 8,682 square-feet.
Further, Piazza explained how the new facility would allow adequate space for police functions including switchboard operation for routing campus phone calls, dispatching officers, patrol and processing, administrative tasks and lost and found.
Another benefit of the new building is its use as a crisis response center.
With the newly designed building, the area can be used as a command post to respond to an on-campus crisis, be it a shooting, fire, explosion, airplane crash, tornado, or any other crisis.
The new building is a hardened site, able to withstand an F5 Tornado giving the facility ability to maintain operations no matter the emergency.
Of course,having a new building won’t cause officers to stay inside. Rather, they’ll be out with the college community as they’ve always been, keeping them safe, Steward said.
“It might be nothing more than walking students or employees to class after an evening event when they’re a little apprehensive. It might be jump starting car battery, or helping students find a location on campus,” he said.
“There’s always routine enforcement of speeding and parking violations and unfortunately there’s a necessity to enforce laws that are more serious than that where crime occur on our campus.”