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2016 Public Safety Services Study 


Dear Campus Community,

The Board of Trustees directed staff to look at best practices in public safety with the goal of maintaining and enhancing safety on all of our campuses. To that end, a Public Safety Services Committee consisting of District Staff, College and student representatives was formed to help guide the District’s research process and coordinate opportunities for discussion and participation.

We developed a Request For Proposals (RFP) that asked proposers to present a plan to conduct a comprehensive study of the current safety and security environment in higher education, including community colleges. The study would include information on all organizational and operational aspects of campus public safety, as well as examples of best or smart practices. The study would address current public safety concerns, including public policy and the evidence based strategies that promote community safety on multiple levels. It will include a comprehensive review and analysis of how our current structure for the Department of Public Safety is positioned to respond to the variety of issues associated with ensuring public safety, including catastrophic events such as natural disasters and active threats to the campus community.  The project would ultimately result in a staff report for consideration by the District’s Board of Trustees in December 2016. The District sent its proposal to 23 firms. Of the six firms that responded, the evaluation committee determined that three demonstrated the potential to provide the qualifications, capabilities and capacity to execute the project for the District. The Public Safety Services committee interviewed 2 of the firms on April 28. One firm withdrew from the process. 

After careful consideration, the committee decided that Margolis Healy is the most qualified to perform the work for the District. Acting upon the committee’s recommendation, the Board of Trustees approved entering into a contract with Margolis Healy on May 11.  Margolis Healy is a professional services firm specializing in campus safety, security, and regulatory compliance for higher education and K-12. The firm has managed or been intimately involved with numerous high profile cases, including reviews, assessments and investigations at Penn State, The Citadel, University of Pennsylvania, and Umpqua Community College. They bring a diverse team to the process and extensive experience in working with diverse groups of stakeholders in educational environments. The firm was awarded a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Justice to create and manage the National Center for Campus Public Safety – a clearinghouse for best practices. Their multidisciplinary approach to the study will bring experts in higher education, public safety, emergency management, and organizational assessment/regulatory compliance, among others, to the process.

Over the summer, Margolis Healy began its research.  In the Fall, we held 6 public forums at each campus.  We have a survey available: for anyone to give feedback. Acknowledging that getting sufficient input takes time, we have extended the timeline to review the draft report.  Early in the Spring 2017 semester, the draft report will go through the participatory governance process at each campus to refine and adopt the recommendations. More information about the process for reviewing the recommendations will be made available in January, 2017. After we have gone through the governance process, the report will be presented to the Board in late Spring, 2017. I encourage you to stay involved in the process so that everyone’s voice can be heard.   


Kathy Blackwood

Executive Vice Chancellor

San Mateo County Community College District

(650) 358-6869