The Department of Public Safety at USM is committed to serving and protecting the University of Southern Maine community. We understand that transparency and accountability build trust, and that trust is the cornerstone of the community policing philosophy which guides us.
We want you to know that we hold ourselves personally and professionally to the University’s service values of Respect & Care, Integrity, Equity and Responsiveness. We are actively engaged in promoting agency and officer integrity through transparency and accountability, fair and equitable policing policies, continuous training and education of our staff, and active participation in our community’s programs and initiatives. We are committed to employing the best practices in our field, and to using the pillars set forth in the Final Report on the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing to chart the way for progress and improvement in policing.
Our staff will treat every person with dignity, respect and the utmost professionalism. We remain committed to listening, learning and growing alongside our community as we know that true public safety comes from the commitment and actions of all.
The Department of Public Safety at USM condemns police brutality, in Maine or anywhere in the country. The proposed #8CantWait initiative by Campaign Zero outlines eight policies that can decrease police violence & improve the safety of all citizens. We are proud to be a longstanding leader in the implementation of safe, fair protocols and practices. The eight proposed policy changes have actually been in effect for years in our agency; read our review and response here.
Policies and Procedures
The Department of Public Safety at USM is grounded in our policies; such policies (called Standard Operating Procedures or “SOPs”) direct our staff on how they are expected to conduct themselves while on duty, and what they are expected to do in situations according to national best practices, Maine and Federal laws, and Maine Criminal Justice Academy regulations. Click below to read our core SOPs:
- Professional Conduct
- Employee Misconduct
- Bias-based Policing
- Response to Resistance
We are currently working toward state accreditation with the Maine Chiefs of Police Association's MLEAP program. Accreditation is proof that an agency is meeting & maintaining the highest standards of professional excellence & accountability. It is a proven method of providing the tools necessary for agencies to evaluate and improve their overall performance.
Community Outreach & Problem Solving
In 2018, The Department of Public Safety opened a Community Policing office inside the Glickman library. When they are not otherwise tied up on calls, officers staff this office to be available and approachable to the community. The location was chosen due to the crossroads in community that Glickman serves – campus community as well as the greater public.
Also in 2018, we started our first police Bike Patrol. Several of our officers undertook extra safety training to become certified police cyclists, and often can be seen riding when the weather permits. Studies – and experience – have shown that Bike Patrol officers are viewed as more approachable by the public, facilitating more communication and strengthening trust.
Community outreach and problem solving is the philosophy and responsibility of every officer; in 2020 a Police Specialist is assigned to oversee these efforts.
Public Safety Assistants
USM Public Safety employs student workers as Public Safety Assistants (PSAs).
The newly revived PSA program provides opportunity for our students to work and take part in the overall safety of our campus community. PSAs work in conjunction with Police and other Public Safety staff to assist in a variety of initiatives including community policing, building security, foot patrols, safety escorts, lock/unlock buildings, event staffing, parking enforcement and more. They work a variety of hours based on the needs of Public Safety. PSA’s are an important part of the face of Public Safety and overall campus safety.
Interested in becoming PSA? We're always looking for good candidates! Visit the USM Career & Employment Hub.
We know that ongoing education, listening and learning are key elements to fostering understanding. Each year, officers at the Department of Public Safety undergo a cycle of training required by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s Board of Trustees; this includes topics centered around addiction, handling stress and critical incidents, critical thinking for law enforcement, mental health emergencies, etc.
For their initial training, officers must complete our Police Training Officer program (PTO); this method of field training is based on problem-solving learning. PTO focuses on the officer’s learning capacity and problem-solving skills as opposed to their rote, or static, performance capabilities which older, traditional models tended to follow. Problem-based learning was identified in Pilar 5: Training & Education in the Report on 21st Century Policing.
In addition, most of our officers are trained in Mental Health First Aid; several have gone farther and obtained certification in Crisis Intervention.
Each year, we mandate all officers to refresher training in cultural diversity, policing in diverse communities and implicit biases.
Safe Zone – the personnel at the Department of Public Safety have studied in this program for all USM students, faculty and staff, which focuses on the issues that LGBTQ+ people face and how to be successful, safe and supportive allies.
Green Zone – several of our staff have received training in this program for our Husky veterans, helping staff & faculty become more familiar with military life and how it translates into the classroom. As military service members transition into students, they face unique challenges and may need specific resources to assist them in their success.
Green Dot – is bystander intervention education that aims to reduce power-based personal violence on campus by training students, faculty and staff to become active bystanders. We support this program presently at an awareness level of training. We hope to have someone qualified in the future to assist in facilitating the program.