Meet the Southwest Campus Safety Technician Blue Brigade
You may have seen them around campus wearing baby-blue polo shirts with an embroidered police shield on the front and black baseball caps. They are the Southwest Police Services/Public Safety Department Campus Safety Technicians (CSTs). The CST Blue Brigade is a program for federal work study students who possess the desire and aptitude, and have met the qualifications, to serve the College community under the direction of police services/public safety. The program was introduced to Southwest in September. The students in the CST Blue Brigade have a 20-hour weekly work schedule and can perform the following tasks:
- Assist with monitoring the campus for safety
- Provide escort needs as warranted
- Submit reports of suspicious activities
- Assist staff and students during emergencies
- Become familiar with basic investigation techniques
CST Evelyn Edwards, a criminal justice student wanting real-life experiences, joined the brigade. "I desired hands-on experience with a skilled officer. ... I have learned investigative techniques about identifying, collecting and processing evidence, along with how to write efficient reports. I now have a more comprehensive understanding of police work and problems facing police today, and so much more," said Edwards.
The CST program allows its participants to interact in a business environment and learn to deal with difficult people at work, practice self control, train in techniques designed to de-escalate situations, prepare for job interviews and for career enhancement, study workplace/business etiquette, and develop a strong work ethic and time management skills. Mentoring is available for CSTs.
Police Service/Public Safety Director James Bolden said, "What makes this a little bit different is, while they are here as CSTs, we have an opportunity to reach out and touch some of our students in ways perhaps they have not been touched before in terms of interacting in a college environment. We are hopeful that once they finish this program, they will at least have a taste for the different levels of career opportunities that may be available for them."
Bolden indicated that Elizabeth Lawrence, instructor of social and behavioral sciences, contributed greatly to the program. "Lawrence planted the seeds by providing students from the criminal justice studies program. Without her assistance it, would have been quite challenging for us in getting this program started," Bolden said.