New Public Safety building opens
Col. Joe Herring remembers when he started at Towson that the department’s holding cell, supervisor’s center and roll call were all housed in a 10 x 10 room.
In early May, TUPD moved to the new Public Safety Building across from the main entrance of the University.
The 25,000-square-foot facility not only provides more space for the department than the General Services building it was previously in, but it also puts several other safety entities in the same building, making collaboration easier.
The Environmental Health and Safety, emergency preparedness, security access control and the police department are all under the same roof now.
“It was a process and a project,” Herring, Towson University Police Department Deputy Chief of Police, said. “It’s a much more fluid operation.”
The new building also has secure doors, fingerprinting technology, interrogation rooms with audio and visual equipment, surveillance cameras, prisoner holding cells, a sally port so detainees can be brought into the building without public identification, and more convenient storage, he said.
“It has all the functions we did before, we just did them in ad hoc facilities,” he said. “For our department it’s important resources are more accessible to me.”
The communications center is still in the old public safety building and will be moved to the new location in about 18-24 months, Herring said.
The communications center currently operates their radios on a platform that is only the Towson area. When it is moved they will be on the state radio system and able to communicate state-wide.
Another service that is not yet in the new building is the prisoner processing.
As of now they still process prisoners in the General Services building because they are waiting on a new electronic fingerprinting station.
TUPD is currently pursuing an advanced accreditation from CALEA, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
“It means the agency is conforming to the best practices and standards,” he said. “This building certainly made the accreditation process much easier.”
The accreditation process requires a self-assessment, on-site assessment, commission review and decision and maintaining compliance and reaccreditation during its three-year cycle.
The standards that are to be met are policy and procedures, administration, operations and support services.
The department had its on-site assessment at the beginning of August and are awaiting the hearing on the decision of accreditation on Nov. 16.
“The on site went very well,” Herring said. “It was a very positive exit interview with the two accreditation people who were here.”