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About Public Safety

About Public Safety

Swarthmore's Public Safety Department operates 24/7/365 and is fully committed to providing a safe and healthy campus for the entire community. Uniformed staff patrol buildings and grounds, respond to emergencies, educate the community about crime prevention, and provide individual safety escorts upon request. Public Safety also offers a variety of programs, such as awareness and self defense classes for credit for students and Safety Breaks, during which Public Safety staff share educational information on specific topics. Public Safety regularly meets with on- and off-campus community members to discuss a variety of safety and crime prevention matters. In addition, the Community Resource Officer program partners officers with every residence hall and academic and administrative building in an ongoing effort to build trust and stronger relationships.

Public Safety is located in the historic Benjamin West House and serves as the College's Visitor Center and as the central phone operator for campus. Learn more about DPS in our Building a Safe Campus [pdf] brochure. 

Background and Training

The Department of Public Safety's management team is comprised of a director, two associate directors, a lieutenant, a security systems and training administrator, and an office manager. Please refer to this organizational chart [pdf] for a full list of positions.

Each community resource officers undergoes a background check, psychological screening, and physical examination. They receive ongoing and regular training in a number of areas, including: de-escalation techniques, implicit bias, gender idendity, and other diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.  Current certifications in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, obstructed airway, standard first aid, and automatic external defibrillators are required of all officers, and several have advanced medical certifications. Training and certifications also include APCO, ASIS Private Security Officer Course, PA Act 235, and PA Act 120.


Local jurisdiction is shared with Swarthmore Borough Police Department, with whom a close working relationship is maintained, as outlined in a memorandum of understanding. Pennsylvania State Police and/or the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Unit will assist Swarthmore Borough Police in most serious campus investigations. The Department of Public Safety typically plays a supportive role in these instances. Public Safety is often involved if a Swarthmore College student is involved in an off-campus offense. 

Public Safety ensures personal and organizational accountability by community members to abide by the rules and regulations of the College, the Borough of Swarthmore, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Swarthmore College is considered private property and trespassers will be escorted off campus.