Tufts Public Safety Progress Update – Spring 2023

The latest update from the Department of Public Safety highlighting ongoing changes within the department as well as its continuing commitment to upholding Tufts' commitment as an anti-racist institution.
Tufts sign flowers

Dear Tufts community members, 

I am writing to share recent progress made by Public Safety in implementing the Working Group on Campus Safety and Policing’s recommendations for promoting greater equity and inclusion in our community. 

Mental Health Resources

One of the most important changes made this semester is the introduction of mental health resources in public safety training, community programs, and support. 
Mental Health Training: Tufts Threat Assessment and Management’s (TTAM) Crisis Intervention and Threat Assessment Manager Jennifer Previti is leading mental health training for Public Safety officers following National Council for Mental Wellbeing guidelines. This training provides TUPD officers and staff with the skills to help de-escalate incidents and better understand mental illness. To date, more than 82 percent of the department’s staff, including officers, dispatchers, campus security officers (CSOs), emergency management, and other non-sworn administrative personnel, have participated in at least one training session. We will continue to integrate these sessions into other areas of TUPD’s specialized training. 

Comfort Dog: In April, Public Safety’s first comfort dog made her debut on the Medford/Somerville campus. Pepper, a six-month-old black Labrador Retriever, and her handler, Officer Rob Moschella, will be among the first responders providing aid to community members who are experiencing trauma or stress. Pepper and Rob also serve as Public Safety liaisons at campus and community events. Pepper was adopted through Hero Pups, a non-profit rescue group in New Hampshire, where she currently lives and trains. Once Pepper becomes a full-time member of the department, you can expect to see her more around campus. 

Campus Security Officers

After welcoming campus security officer (CSO) manager Michael Insetta to Tufts last fall, the decision was made to cross-train incoming and current CSOs to focus on the needs of the Medford/Somerville campus. CSO Is serve at fixed points on campus, aiding with lockouts remotely, signing in visitors, and providing directions. Those promoted to CSO II will be able to roam, providing general maintenance, security, event support, and training for new CSO hires. We will also introduce new CSO uniforms and a training guide. Further updates will be provided as soon as new CSO staff members are trained and in place on the Medford/Somerville campus.

While Public Safety has made progress in support of the university’s anti-racist goals, there will always be more work to be done. To learn about what is new and upcoming, please visit our Progress Dashboard. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out to publicsafety-inquiries@elist.tufts.edu. You can also stay updated by following us on Instagram and visiting publicsafety.tufts.edu.

With warm regards,
Yolanda Smith, Executive Director of Public Safety