Safety on campus with NAIT Protective Services

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Web Archive

It’s been two years since the pandemic, and everybody comes and goes too quickly here at NAIT. With some students on campus for the first time, or even for those returning, many see the uniformed officers or hear about NAIT Protective Services (NPS) but don’t know the intricacies of the different roles. 

The Protective Services page on NAIT’s website explains that their goal is to “provide helpful, responsive services and to work with staff, students and visitors to strengthen our campus community.” But as Sam Darlington, a NAIT peace Officer explains, not everyone knows what NPS does on campus.  “We have a lot of levels of law enforcement in Alberta, we’re very unique in that way. We have peace officers, municipal police, the RCMP, the sheriffs as well. They’re all out doing different things, so it does get a little confusing.” 

The Nugget sat down with Darlington to get some clarity on the many roles and duties NPS has at NAIT. 

Peace Officers

Peace Officers are trained by the Province of Alberta, which gives them the authority to deal with provincial matters. “We can detain and investigate certain provincial offenses, not criminal [matters], that’s strictly the purview of the police,” Darlington explained. 

Here at NAIT, the Peace Officers oversee safeguarding the members of the public and assist the Edmonton Police Service in collection of evidence and reporting any criminal activity on campus. 

“High level, our job is to keep people safe. That’s what we’re here to do. It’s not to write tickets, it’s not to arrest people, we’re here to keep people safe,” said Darlington. 

NPS Peace Officers also help students in need by directing them to various resources when they need assistance, aiming to focus on meaningful and supportive community interactions. Haven’t seen a Peace Officer? You can tell who they are by their grey uniform shirts, blue protective vests and grey vertical stripes on dark blue pants. They are also marked “Peace Officer” on their vests and dark blue patrol jackets. NPS also has a fleet of several marked NAIT Peace Officer patrol vehicles. 

Security Agents

NAIT’s Security Agents are also important members of the NPS team and provide additional support and services to the NAIT community. NPS “takes care and pride in the training and development of all their staff.” Darlington said that NPS’ Security Agents go through a “rigorous [training] process“ during which there is a heavy focus on legal studies, officer and public safety and is aimed at maintaining a safe environment for all people in the NAIT community. 

Darlington asserts the are Security Agents “essential”, saying “the security agents are here to support. They help us with calls, they’re essential to us doing our job. I” Having Security Agents on campus allows the NAIT Peace Officers to focus on specific calls for service, conduct investigations, preserve evidence and handle other important tasks like NPS’ Lost and Found services, the Safe Walk program and acting as the Chief Fire Wardens during fire alarms and other evacuations. 

Like the Peace Officers, Security Agents focus on the safety and security of the NAIT campus and creating positive outcomes. “When we’re dealing with the situation [we’re] trying to choose the best option for all parties.”

Parking Enforcement

NAIT’s Parking Enforcement Officers work closely with NPS and  oversee the compliance of NAIT’s parking rules on campus. Parking Enforcement Officers are trained by the City of Edmonton to enforce the bylaws on NAIT property and within NAIT’s parking lots and parkades. He added they maintain a system that focuses on education and warnings to gain compliance before issuing fines.

 “The security agents and the peace officers all have the authority to write parking tickets at NAIT, but it is rare for them to enforce parking,” said Darlington. “They act in a supplementary capacity to the parking enforcement officers.” 

Security Communications Officers

The “keystone of NPS” is the Security Communications Officers, or dispatchers. They answer phone calls, respond to emails and dispatch officers to call. When students call, they collect information to ensure that NPS has the information to properly assist the public. 

NAIT Alert

NAIT Alert is another big part of NPS. Available on the app store and Google Play, NPS uses NAIT Alert to communicate important and urgent information to students. “NAIT Alert is essential to people’s safety at NAIT in the sense that if there is an emergency or any important information that concerns [students’] day-to-day life here, that’s where it’s going to come from.“ 

NAIT encourages all NAIT staff and students to download the app. “Every opportunity I get, I’m telling people to download the app because that is the most important thing I think a person can do when they come to NAIT as it relates to their safety,” he explained. 

Safety at NAIT

Darlington explained that “there’s not a moment in the year where there aren’t peace officers and security agents on the campus.” Darlington also urges students to be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious behaviour. “We really count on people to call us … If you see something, say something.” 

Last year, NPS dealt with over 10500 activities, 1300 of which were “incidents.” Most of those activities included the general duties of NPS and its staff, but the incidents account for more noteworthy occurrences.

NPS affirms they are here to help students. “Our approach is really one with dedication and compassion and fairness. We try to be very public in our approach and transparent. The idea with NPS is that you can come up to us anytime and talk to us and we really want people to kinda see us that way.” 

NPS can be reached at 780-471-7477. Students can also connect to safety resources like a safety toolbox, a virtual safe walk, or NAIT’s emergency procedures via the NAIT Alert app. 

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