The Division of Public Safety got a chance to honor many of the people who keep Penn safe throughout the year Tuesday night.
DPS’s Commendations Ceremony — held in Fagin Hall — let the organization commend officer service, memorialize several individuals and promote members of the department.
After an invocation from University Chaplain Charles Howard, which mentioned this week’s bombing in Boston and fallen Philadelphia Fire Captain Michael Goodwin, who perished while helping fight a fire earlier this month, Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush took the podium for her opening remarks.
“We’re going to be doing celebrations tonight, but we’re also going to honor people who put their lives on the line,” Rush said.
Goodwin would be honored more later in the event with a speech from Chief of Fire and Emergency Services Eugene Janda.
Sylvester Daughtry Jr., the executive director of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, was a guest speaker at the event.
Daughtry called Penn “one of our flagship agencies” and noted that last month, Penn was reaccredited with the “Distinguished Accreditation with Excellence” award. He said that to achieve this level of accreditation, which he said is very rare, DPS had to meet 350 standards.
DPS “has shown its willingness to be accountable to the University community and its importance to the citizens of West Philadelphia,” he said.
Part of the night also focused on Melissa Ketunuti, a Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia pediatrician and Perelman School of Medicine graduate student who was killed in her home in January.
Rush, along with CHOP President and Chief Operating Officer Madeline Bell, presented the Philadelphia Police Homicide Task Force Unit with a citation for their work in arresting a suspect.
The unit “created a sense of closure for the situation and made the citizens of Philadelphia feel safe,” Rush said.
Six people were also promoted within DPS. The new officers to the force are Joseph McDermott, Tanya Orliw and Rafael Stoppazzollo. David Callis was promoted to Detective, and Thomas Devore and Michael Ricciardi were promoted to the position of Sergeant.
Outgoing Undergraduate Assembly President and College junior Dan Bernick and incoming President and College and Wharton junior Abe Sutton continued the tradition of the two positions highlighting several members of Penn’s safety community for outstanding service.
They honored three AlliedBarton guards who had been personally recommended by multiple students.
Bernick also talked about feeling safe as a Penn student. He recounted a time when a prospective Penn student asked him about public safety. “Without even thinking, I was able to say I have never felt unsafe at Penn, and that is to [DPS]’s credit,” he said.
The Medical Emergency Response Team — which helps respond to medical situations around campus — was also honored at the ceremony. Janda praised its growth since its 2006 founding and its reliability.
Rush complimented the organization’s detailed planning and forward-thinking mentality. MERT “should write business models for major corporations,” she quipped.
There were also commendations given to individual officers and members of the community, including a detective who helped to track down the perpetrators of a theft by following a lead found from Twitter.
Despite the individual commendations, Rush ended the night by talking about how Penn’s public safety success comes from a group effort.
Keeping the community safe “takes a team both at DPS and also across all of University City,” she said.Comments powered by Disqus
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