Campus Police and Parking Services Remain Committed to Safety of Medical District

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While faculty, staff, and students work remotely for the most part, the Campus Police Department and Parking Services at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center remain committed to keeping the campus secure and safe.

Security Officer Gloria Otuagoma mans her station wearing personal protective equipment in the General Education Building. (Photo by Wesley Nelson/UTHSC)

“As this nation, and more specifically this county, battle this pandemic, we at UTHSC Police must do our part to assist in any way possible. Although small in numbers, we are huge in heart and willing to be of service,” said Campus Police Chief Anthony Berryhill. “We are responding to all calls of service, regardless of the nature. Most of all, we are maintaining a watchful eye on all campus buildings and for the safety of the few that are remaining on campus to complete their important tasks.”

Internal operation processes are equally important during this unprecedented time. When possible, select personnel are allowed to telecommute. Also, a minimum shift complement is in place, which reduces potential exposure when responding to calls for service. Personal protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, and hand sanitizers, are also being provided to all security officers, police officers, and parking services personnel. In addition, they are checked for elevated temperatures daily.

“If the officers are sick and can’t report to duty, we are leaving our campus vulnerable,” Berryhill said. “We are in a profession that requires us to stand the line, regardless of the circumstances. We adjust, not just to allocation of manpower, but to policing mode and mindset. Patrolling an area that is traditionally robust and now is relatively isolated, requires a change in policing strategy. Our team is much more vigilant for building break-ins, car thefts, and any crime of opportunity. In times of uncertainty, people become desperate and start displaying even more socially unacceptable behaviors, and police everywhere must prepare to be more proactive than reactive. “

Security Officer Jerri Dent patrols the medical district. (Photo by Wesley Nelson/UTHSC)

“The responsibility of keeping the faculty, staff, and students of UTHSC and our hospital partners in the medical district safe never stops,” said Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer for UTHSC. “Our recognition as one of the safest zip codes in a sometimes violent city, as well as one of the safest college campuses in the country, is a result of the tireless efforts of the UTHSC Campus Police Department.  A debt of gratitude is owed to the committed women and men of this department for their relentless efforts and unwavering commitment to maintaining the integrity and safety of the entire medical district community.”

Editor’s note: This is another in a series of stories looking at how UTHSC students, faculty, and staff across the campus are contributing to the battle against the coronavirus. We are seeking stories about students, faculty, staff, and alumni contributing to this effort. Please contact communications@uthsc.edu if you have ideas for future stories. For up-to-date information and resources about the coronavirus, go to https://uthsc.edu/coronavirus/.