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A conversation with Chief Callahan

By Sara McCrea

Section: Features

October 20, 2017

As Director of Public Safety, Ed Callahan has a lot to do every day. From overseeing 70 undergraduate BranVan drivers, the parking office, the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps (BEMCo) and the University Police where Callahan is the Chief of the University Police, Callahan is responsible for all aspects of safety on campus for students, faculty and staff.

According to Callahan, the Department of Public Safety is currently reviewing measures to enhance their closed circuit television (CCTV) monitoring and surveillance system on campus.

Last month, Callahan sent out a campus wide email to the Brandeis community regarding property defacement on campus, including two swastikas that were drawn on a whiteboard in a residence hall. Callahan’s staff is still working with the Department of Community Living (DCL) to determine who was involved. The investigation is still ongoing.

Callahan is a core member of the university Campus Assessment Response and Education
(CARE) team, which is a multidisciplinary group of administrators that evaluates and determines disciplinary measures for instances of behavioral misconduct. He is also the official liaison to municipal, state and federal law enforcement agencies relative to university police and security concerns. Despite the many hats he wears, Callahan still finds time to connect with the community.

“My favorite part of my job is working with students and seeing them prosper in their academic and professional careers,” Callahan told The Brandeis Hoot. “Many of the students that I work with keep in contact with me and have become quite professional in various fields including medicine, law and business. I love hearing from alumni I’ve known over the years.”

“We are always reviewing our policies, procedures and infrastructure designed to protect the safety of everyone on campus—students, faculty, staff and visitors,” he said, adding that, “Over the course of the year we undertake upgrades as a matter of course.”

The Brandeis webpage on Emergency Preparedness explains the various systems to provide students, faculty and staff with immediate information in case of an emergency. In the case of an imminent threat from severe weather or a chemical spill, sirens will alert students to seek indoor shelter. The Department of Public Safety would send an update through the Brandeis emergency notification system with further instructions for precautions, and a more musical “Westminster” siren will sound for a minute when the situation is clear.

Callahan emphasized the importance of awareness of personal safety in keeping students and their peers safe.

“College should be a great experience and we do everything we can to keep students safe,” Callahan said. “We need students to do their part by doing simple things like locking doors, not leaving property unattended and using crosswalks. Prevention efforts like these are really helpful to my staff and to the overall goal of keeping Brandeis safe.”

The Department of Public Safety released the annual Fire Safety and Security report in September. The report details emergency policies and core values of the Division of Student Affairs, including citizenship, civility and the embrace of diversity.

“Maintaining the safety of the community involves 100-percent participation by everyone. This entails reporting suspicious incidents, exercising personal safety by securing electronic devices and personal property and always thinking safety first.”

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