Samford University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) has provided an incredible service to our community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic of the past year. Comprised of 15 police officers, two dispatchers, and one administrative support team member, DPS is available 24/7.
“DPS has not missed a single shift during the pandemic, whether in lockdown or open under COVID-19 protocols. Every day, the shifts was staffed, and the campus was never left unprotected. The officers were extremely dedicated and knew that even though the campus was partially empty, the routine law enforcement functions of patrol, safety and protection still had to continue,” said Tommy Taylor, chief officer.
Throughout the summer, when most employees worked remotely, DPS remained on campus, ensuring it was well monitored. In addition, the team’s responsibilities grew over the past year to include helping administer COVID-19 tests.
“COVID-19 testing assistance allowed DPS to help a lot of students and employees find out if they were positive or negative, which greatly impacted their lives. I will always be proud of the people we have been able to help and the way in which we did it,” Taylor said. “COVID-19 required all of DPS to adopt an ‘all hands on deck’ philosophy, and we all worked very closely together to keep the campus safe.”
Taylor noted that collaboration across campus was the key to maintaining a safe environment. “As hard as it is to comprehend, COVID-19 did require many people to work more closely together than they likely had done so in the past. I was fortunate to build strong relationships with multiple colleagues and teams on campus. I think the main takeaway for me was to truly learn that it is everyone’s responsibility to help keep the campus safe,” Taylor said.Despite the success of DPS during this difficult period, Taylor is looking forward to a post-COVID-19 campus. “I will be glad to get back to the business of campus-wide public safety engagement, without the confines of masks, protocols, or online meetings. I truly enjoy speaking face to face with students, employees, groups, and organizations,” he said.