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Familiar Faces Join F&M's Department of Public Safety

A new insourcing measure by Franklin & Marshall College has made a few familiar faces around campus part of the F&M "family."

The College has insourced the services previously provided by contract security company AlliedBarton, welcoming four full-time security officers to the staff in public safety over winter break. Each of the security officers has worked at F&M in the past -- two as employees of AlliedBarton (Howard Paslay and Hector Torres), one longtime member of public safety (Robert Cox), and one who worked at both F&M and AlliedBarton (Dennis Shaffer).

The officers will provide the same services as those provided by AlliedBarton, including conducting campus patrols to supplement those performed by the department's accredited police officers; conducting building security checks; assisting students who are locked out of buildings or need escorts to campus; and monitoring closed-circuit cameras.

  • public safety insourcing
  • Franklin & Marshall welcomed four new, full-time security officers over winter break, each of whom worked on campus previously for either the Department of Public Safety or AlliedBarton security. The officers are, from left, Hector Torres, Robert Cox, Dennis Shaffer and Howard Paslay. (Photo by Tim Brixius)

Paslay said he and his peers are excited about the new arrangement.

"I don't feel like an outsider coming in anymore. I feel like part of the team," said Paslay, who began working on campus as an AlliedBarton employee in 2011. "It's like being part of the F&M family versus being a second cousin twice removed."

Several factors converged in 2012 to spark the insourcing move, including an external public safety review that indicated the College should consider adding full-time security staff to complement the officers. In addition, Vice President for Finance and Administration David Proulx said an F&M student group focusing on workers' rights raised the issue of fair-labor practices with the administration.

"I thank the workers' rights group for helping us identify employment issues related to our external staffing agreements," Proulx said. "Our security officers will benefit from these changes, as will the College."

Hiring the security officers as full-time employees of the College provides them with a direct connection to F&M, Proulx said.

"It's exciting that we're able to give four individuals a home in our community and reward them for the jobs they're doing," Proulx said. "In the past, we didn't know which security officers would be on duty at a given time. We felt like we needed more control over security staffing, and increasing flexibility on how those resources are utilized on campus."

Proulx said the new arrangement would provide the security officers with better compensation, benefits through the College, and new equipment and uniforms. "We're able to do this without any additional cost to the College," he said.

Director of Public Safety William McHale said the security officers are a strong addition to the department.

"It is wonderful that these security officers are now part of the F&M family. It's a win-win for everyone," McHale said. "We're assured of having the same officers on regular shifts. That fosters good will, and students, faculty members and professional staff will get to know them around campus."

Lieutenant for Operations and Training Dennis Walters, who drafted the proposal for the new security arrangement last year, looks forward to the stability the new officers provide.

"Now we'll have consistency in our security officers, and we can track their training," Walters said.