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Public Safety getting back to normal, needs help

Pub Safe back to normal, but could use help.

The return of students to campus post-lockdown has Castleton University Public Safety officers and staff back in action. However, like many departments on campus facing student worker shortages, Public Safety has not been immune to this shortage. 

“I’ve never had to set up a table to recruit workers. I’ve usually filled up before the first footsteps here on campus. I like to have 10 dispatchers and 10 student officers. Right now, I have about six dispatchers and three student officers,” said Keith Molinari, director of Public Safety. 

Though the student worker numbers are a bit abnormal, Molinari reports that most everything on campus is following the trends of previous years before COVID-19. 

However, Molinari has seen an increase in one specific type of incident. 

“I think there has been an uptick in mental health-related incidents beginning this semester. I think there was some fallout in emotional health from COVID. Other than that, everything else seems to be aligning with our 2019 numbers,” Molinari said. 

But just what does Public Safety typically deal with? 

“There are many things that come in on a regular basis. Of course, unlocks for students that have locked themselves out, our routine locking and unlocking of buildings, parking violations, regular incident reports. Those are our big ones,” Molinari said. 

A group of students standing outside of Leavenworth Hall recently talked about the times they have called Public Safety for help. 

“Public Safety has helped me many times when I’ve locked myself out of my room. I haven’t had to see them for anything else though,” said Castleton senior Emily Greene 

Senior Grace Sharkey recalled her first experience with Public Safety. 

“Freshman year I had to see them for a parking ticket and then get registered to park on campus. They’ve also helped me when I was locked out of my suite,” Sharkey said. 

Though Public Safety has their regular calls, they do a lot more behind the scenes as well. And it’s the only department that runs 24/7. 

“We work hand in hand with Res. Life and Facilities because our work overlaps. We are the only service that is around the clock. We handle a lot of stuff you wouldn’t think of from signing out fleet vehicles, supplying jumper cables, a bunch of little things students may need help with at any given moment,” Molinari said. 

Although the return of students directly correlates to a rise in incidents from lockdown numbers, Molinari is enthusiastic about regaining some normalcy. 

“I’m happy to finally have students back on campus again. I love having stuff going on around here,” Molinari said.