The Division of Public Safety, in collaboration with the Undergraduate Assembly and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, held its spring commendation ceremony Wednesday evening at Fagin Hall.
At the ceremony, DPS honored members of its division, its partners in safety, AlliedBarton, the University City District, the Philadelphia Police Department and members of the Penn community for their devotion to service.
“This is one of our favorite events of the year,” Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli said. Penn student leaders “pull their peers to hear some of the great stories ... [of how] the people of Penn police are respecting the students.”
Penn said farewell to Mitch Yanak at the ceremony after 13 years of service to the Penn community. Yanak will be leaving DPS to run the 911 systems with the Philadelphia Police.
Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush swore in new police officer Jenna Ficchi, who graduated from the Delaware County Police Academy in 2014 and is currently working towards a degree in criminal justice.
“There are a lot of people in Public Safety who are part of driving crime down, making sure our students get through the semester safely,” Rush said.
Rush thanked individual members of DPS for their service and made a point to thank every single department of DPS.
Several members of DPS were commended at the ceremony for their efforts in specific incidents and how they followed-up on each incident. Such incidents included fraud incidents and cases of rape and assault.
One group of individuals honored at the event was those who helped the day that a man entered Van Pelt Library with a machete. On Feb. 23, the search teams, PennComm Operations Center, and Penn Police all worked together to send out a UPennAlert, evacuate people, search every floor of the library and find the man with the machete. These individuals were honored for their help in finding the man.
UA President Jane Meyer commended Radian security officer Jennifer, whose last name was not given, for her positive presence. GASPA also gave an award to Rush and Kathleen Shields-Anderson for their service to the Penn community.
Chief Gene Janda honored the 2016 Medical Emergency Response Team seniors for their service to the Penn community. He mentioned how they covered the papal visit in September, won The Daily Pennsylvanian bracket and recently received their quick response service license from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. recently awarded Penn Police advanced reaccreditation at the CALEA Conference last week. At this conference, Rush was awarded the Egon Bittner Award for Excellence in Leadership of a CALEA Accredited Law Enforcement Agency for 15 consecutive years.
Since 1996, Penn has ramped up security, and even this semester, crime has decreased by 20 percent, Carnaroli said.
Rush told the audience, “It takes a village to make us all safe.”
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