June 05, 2014

Public Safety Director Looks Back on First Year

Director of Public Safety Bill Powers

Director of Public Safety Bill Powers arrived at Wentworth last July with over 30 years of law enforcement work under his belt, as well as six years as a forensic science professor at Boston University. As he approaches his one-year mark with the Institute, he reflects on the rewards and challenges of his new position, as well as what’s in store for the future.

 “The past year been challenging, and when I say more so than expected, I mean that in a positive way,” said Powers, a Boston native whose father was a member of the Boston Police Department until the late 1970s. “And I’ve been very pleased to see that the school embraces public safety.”

Powers relates that one of his biggest challenges thus far has been parking.

“You have students who pay for a parking pass, something that says they’re able to park on campus,” he said. “And when there’s no space for a student–that’s a real issue.”

Over the past semester, Powers has been looking into the situation intently, ensuring that all students deserving of a space are able to use the lots on campus. Powers has looked into various issues, including students wrongfully using borrowed or expired passes, and people entering the lot without passes when an officer is otherwise occupied.

Day to day, Powers reviews safety incidents, checks in with and oversees the rest of his staff, collaborates with the Division of Technology Services, and attends committee meetings, among other duties. He’s also currently working on a plan that will require all Wentworth students, faculty, and staff to wear their ID badges in a visible spot when on campus.

Another initiative Powers has been heavily involved in is the RAVE emergency notification program. RAVE is a system that all members of the Wentworth community are eligible to register for, and Powers strongly encourages everyone to sign up.

A system like RAVE is crucial to college communities, said Powers, especially those in urban locations like Wentworth. To ensure the safety of students and other Institute members, the program sends out emergency alerts about any dangerous activity on or near campus via text and email to all those registered.

Moving forward, Powers is to head a thorough sexual assault training program for Institute officers. In Massachusetts, in order to perform a sexual assault investigation, 40 hours of assault training are required. All but three current members on the Wentworth police staff are certified, and the three that are not will attend the training session with Powers in June. Powers has opened this class up to officers at all of the Colleges of the Fenway.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned as all my years as an investigator, it’s the importance of training,” he said.

It’s been an eventful year for the new leader of Wentworth’s Public Safety division, and he’s ready to take on another.

“It’s all been more challenging than I thought,” he said, “but I’m not at that point yet where I want to give up on challenging myself.” 

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