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Communications Officer

Apply now Job no: 494302
Work type: Part Time
Location: Swarthmore
Categories: Staff

Swarthmore College is a highly selective liberal arts college located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, whose mission combines academic rigor with social responsibility. Swarthmore has a strong institutional commitment to inclusive excellence and nondiscrimination in its educational program and employment practices and encourages candidates who will further advance the goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive community. As one of the nation’s finest institutions of higher learning, Swarthmore College is global in outlook and draws students from around the nation and world. The 425‐acre campus is a designated arboretum, complete with gardens, rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails in the Crum Woods.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is currently accepting applications for the position of Communication/Patrol Officer. Public Safety Officers (PSO's) are an integral part of the support and resource network on campus. Officers are responsible for building positive community relationships throughout campus.

The Communication Officer is singularly responsible for the efficient and effective operation of the multi-faceted Swarthmore College Communication Center. The position maintains control of incoming telephone calls while providing direction for outgoing calls that are not direct dial accessible. The officer courteously provides information and assistance by telephone, radio or in person to faculty, staff, students, and visitors. The dispatch of internal communications, monitoring of alarm systems and intrusion alarms and control of student organizations’ keys are all integral functions of the position. Coordination of communication under demanding emergency conditions is an essential skill.

They are also responsible for the efficient and effective operation of the multi-faceted Swarthmore College Communication Center. The position maintains control of incoming telephone calls while providing direction for outgoing calls that are not direct dial accessible. The Officer courteously provides information and assistance by telephone, radio or in person to faculty, staff, students, and visitors. The dispatch of internal communications, monitoring of CCTV, Access Control and both fire and intrusion alarms, as well as key control of organizations’ keys are all integral functions of the position. Coordination of communication or responding to incidents under demanding emergency conditions is an essential skill. Performs other duties as assigned.

Essential Responsibilities:
The expectations for the COMM/PSO's are that they fully engage with the concepts of "community policing,” building partnerships that support the safety of every member of the community, such as through the Community Resource Officer Program.
Public Safety’s mission is to work in partnership with the Swarthmore College community to provide a safe and secure learning, living, and working environment. The department endeavors to foster an atmosphere in which officers provide a prompt, professional presence in order to remain aware of and responsive to the diverse community in which they serve, while justly enforcing the rules and regulations of the College and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The DPS is committed to upholding the College’s mission of fostering leadership for the common good by providing a safe and secure learning, living, and working environment for all members of our vibrant and diverse community. We believe safety is a responsibility.To that end, we work diligently to:
- Protect persons and property by thoughtfully preempting and proactively reducing risks on our campus.
- Preserve the peace by promptly and effectively responding to the needs of our community, fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect and consideration among all its diverse members, and justly enforcing local, state, and federal rules and regulations.
- Inspire confidence and trust as representatives of the College by being a prompt, professional presence in all interactions.
- Cultivate and maintain clear channels of communication within our team and with the broader College community.
- Collaborate with our community in the spirit of Swarthmore’s Quaker values, meeting our shared goal of a safe campus by building strong and intentional ties both on and off campus.
- Create and remain an accessible, caring, and engaged presence throughout your time on campus.
- Share our expertise and continually enhance our knowledge, training, and initiatives through innovative approaches to community policing, involving all our community members in the work of keeping our campus safe.
Officers are expected to participate in community engagement activities. Officers are to report for duty in a dependable and timely fashion. The officer must be willing to work overtime shifts when required occasionally on short notice. The officer must adapt to change in shift schedules.

• Operate the College Switchboard and transfer to proper departments.
• Operate a variety of communications equipment, including two way radio equipment, telephones and computer systems.
• Perform timely dispatch by way of the College two-way radio system of Public Safety Officers and other essential personnel.
• Report to the Delaware County 911 Center for the dispatch of Police, fire, EMS and other outside agencies for both emergency and non-emergency tasks as directed by Public Safety Officers and college emergency response personnel.
• Monitor alarm systems (intrusion, card access, carbon monoxide, fire and duress, etc.)
throughout the College. Dispatch appropriate units as needed.
• Monitor Closed Circuit Television System (CCTV) used at the college.
• Record incident information as needed by the Public Safety Department and as directed via the Automated Records Management System (ARMS) and other databases.
• Assist faculty, staff, students, and visitors who come to Public Safety for routine business and emergencies.
• Contact Facilities Management administrators when necessary regarding emergency repairs, snow removal, etc.
• Contact College Administration when necessary regarding student issues.
• Proper handling of confidential information that is provided and/or processed in the course of your duties and responsibilities.
• The Communications Officer must be fully competent in the operation of all telephones found within the communications office. This includes the computer aided operator’s console.
• Answer all phones promptly, with warmth and courtesy, respond appropriately to callers and route calls or take information accurately and completely to ensure effective departmental operations. Provide directions, guidance, and assistance for visitors or members of the college community.
• Operate the base radio unit and direct Public Safety Officer to respond to calls for assistance and document all pertinent information. Verbal communications using two way radios must be brief courteous, and to the point. To ensure that FCC regulations are followed, the officer shall conduct radio communications in a business like manner.
• Profanity is never to be used over the air. The Communications officer must also notify maintenance personnel for emergency response, and notify other college administrators as directed by the senior officer on duty or by established department protocol.
• Monitor Fire and Intrusion computer terminals and printers. Review information on incoming alarms or trouble conditions. Dispatch appropriate in house departments promptly and effectively. Notify appropriate outside law enforcement, Fire and EMS agencies when required. Review all electronic equipment within the Communications Center at the start of each shift to confirm the equipment is working properly and is accounted for. Activate and de-activate alarms when required.
• Document incident cards, Security of Building logs, escorts and admits, and print maintenance cards through the use of the computers in the Communication Center. Keep the daily crime log accurate and up to date at all times as directed.
• Contact individuals who may be responsible for failing to return keys at the required time.
• Maintain a key log and issue keys to authorized persons. Control the master, facility and college program keys. Ensure that authorized persons sign the key Log upon receiving and returning the key requested. Conduct an inventory of the keys before each assigned shift.
• Contact individuals who may be responsible for failing to return keys at the required time.
• Review the daily “Activity List” so as to be thoroughly familiar with the current campus events. Effectively disseminate this information as needed to on duty personnel, members of the college community and visitors.
• Maintain and update phone directory listings and after hour on-call personnel lists.
• Document found property received and assure that these items are properly identified and securely stored.
• Effect computer searches within all approved and accessible department data bases and be able to print reports as required.
• Document and process parking fines and miscellaneous fees.
• Demonstrated ability to access and properly operate the department’s voice recording system.
• Effectively, consistently and completely communicate to one’s relief officer, information regarding incidents and events that transpired on the previous shift or are currently ongoing.

Additional Responsibilities:
The position requires that Communication Officers also be cross trained as a PSO's. Public Safety Officers may be exposed to environmental factors such as inclement weather, extreme heat and cold, and hazardous materials. PSO's are required to be available to work during inclement weather or other emergency situations even if the campus has otherwise canceled operations.
PSO's are the principal agent responsible for carrying out the functions of the Swarthmore College DPS. These functions include community policing, protection of life and property, as well as a variety of other services to achieve and maintain the goals of the Department. The officer must take appropriate action for the preservation of the peace and good order of the college community. These actions include the enforcement of college regulations, traffic and parking rules, facility use rules, student code of conduct rules, and Pa. State Crime and Vehicle Codes.
-Patrol the campus on foot, motor vehicle, electric vehicle, and/or bicycle to deter criminal and traffic violations, detect safety hazards, facilitate the safe movement of traffic, detect and investigate criminal activity, and provide general assistance. Promptly respond to reported incidents and calls for service and take appropriate action in the context of the situation and within the guidelines of the department’s Standard Operating Procedure and Field Training program. Consistently enforce campus traffic safety and parking violations. Conduct ongoing security patrols of all college buildings, grounds and Crum Woods. Check doors and windows to ensure they are secured. Observe and report unsafe conditions.
-Immediately respond to building fire alarms or to areas within buildings that are protected by intrusion, panic, sprinkler or other assistance alarm equipment to determine if a problem exists or if further investigation is required and ensure all department guidelines are followed for each occurrence.
-Immediately respond to fire emergencies, investigate and request fire department response following the Department’s Fire Incident Decision Matrix. Assist fire department and provide vehicle and pedestrian traffic control. Perform various duties consistent with an aggressive fire prevention program such as inspection of fire fighting equipment, conducting fire exit drills, and perform related duties with regard to the college’s general safety program.
-Immediately respond to medical emergencies, administer first aid and/or render assistance to injured or ill persons. Request Emergency Medical Service response as required. Transport sick and injured students and employees to the Health Center or health care facility when their condition is a non-emergency and ambulance or medical services are not required.
-Document complete and accurate reports concerning incidents and calls for service. The use of a computer and software is required for incident documentation. Investigate and conduct interviews to ensure thorough reports of criminal acts, vehicle and pedestrian accidents, complaints from community members, injured persons (I.e. Worker Compensation) and suspicious persons or activity. Conduct searches and through recognized means, extract evidence from scenes of crimes.
-Provide escorts and protection as assigned for students, employees, dignitaries, transfer of cash/securities and movements of hazardous or highly valuable materials.
-Operate and maintain proficiency in the use of mobile and portable radio equipment. Verbal communications using two way radios must be brief, courteous, and to the point. To ensure that FCC regulations are followed, the Officer shall restrict radio communications to those matters which cannot be accomplished by some other means. Profanity is never to be used over the air. All department radio equipment shall be used and handled with care. The Public Safety Officer shall also be responsible for the proper operation and care of other equipment owned by the department and frequently used in patrol operations.
- Provide crowd control management duties at public events such as intercollegiate athletic events, protest demonstrations, cultural activities and scheduled public appearances by foreign and domestic dignitaries. Control and direct motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic when large crowds attend special events.
-Perform crime prevention and community policing duties as required. Discuss crime prevention, fire and safety with students, faculty and staff. Participate in the Building Resource Officer program. Routinely, and as required, meet with Resident Assistants and students to discuss concerns, resolve individual and group issues consistent with the Department’s “Building Resource Officer crime prevention program.
-Operate patrol vehicles under varying conditions, on roadways and in pedestrian movement from routine to emergency situations. Maintain a visible image to the campus to deter potential violators. Assist the motoring public on campus when they incur problems of mechanical nature, such as vehicle jump starts and vehicle lockouts.
- When not actively engaged in specific department sanctioned duties, the officer will revert to a continuous systematic patrol of the campus and routine building checks. The Public Safety Officer will conduct vehicle and bike patrols which are limited to within college boundaries and shall remain on college property unless called to assist a local law enforcement agency immediately adjacent to campus.

Supervisory Responsibilities:
This position does not have any supervisory responsibilities.

Required Qualifications:
Candidates must successfully complete an on the job training program and a six month new employee period. High School diploma or equivalent required. Minimum of three years’ experience in the security, public safety, law enforcement, and communications field, preferably in a college or similar environment and/or experience in a busy office setting in a call-taking environment.

• Must have excellent communication and customer service skills to deal effectively with a wide variety of College personnel and/or outside individuals/organizations.
• Good computer skills required.
• Ability to work and maintain a positive relationship with Public Safety staff and other personnel.
• The ability to work independently.
• Excellent verbal and written communications skills. The ability to write legibly and speak clearly.
• The ability to prioritize multiple tasks occurring simultaneously and effectuate timely and appropriate communication responses is an essential skill.

• Ability to effectively follow department protocols as they relate to specific incidents including but not limited to bomb threats, sexual assaults and fire emergencies
• Knowledge of, and the location of, all logs, forms and reference materials used to support the functions of the Communications Center.
• Ability to receive and analyze calls and route them appropriately. Collect information necessary for incidents in progress and effectively notify appropriate Department personnel.
• Demonstrated ability in articulating information both in writing and in speech.
• Written matter must be consistently clear, concise, and complete and grammatically correct.
• Skill in standard radio dispatch protocols. Possess the ability to effectively communicate with local police, fire, and EMS services. And to effectively coordinate one or more of these services with College staff under emergency conditions.
• Must be able to consistently demonstrate strong human relations, communication and interpersonal skills to effectively provide public service in a diverse academic environment.
• The Communication Officer, in the course of routine duties, will have exposure to confidential and sensitive reports and information. Department protocols regarding the dissemination of this information in any form must be strictly adhered to at all times.

Preferred Qualifications:
College degree, PA Act 235 Certification or PA Act 120 Certification, CPTED and APCO Certification preferred. De-escalation Training and strong customer service/communication skills are crucial. A background and understanding of community policing concepts would be a plus. Focus on the Five Cs of Effective Community Policing: communication, collaboration, care, concern and creativity.

An equivalent combination of experience and education may be considered.

Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. 

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