In a Q&A with August Pelliccio from Crescent magazine, both Campus Watch Director Jake Lahiff and Chief of Southern Police Department Joseph Dooley were asked 10 questions about themselves and their jobs on campus.
1. How did you first get involved in your position?
Campus Watch Director Jake Lahiff: Campus Watch is exclusively through Beta Mu Sigma, so once I joined the fraternity in the fall of 2016, Campus Watch was something that was introduced right away. I started in the following spring.
Chief of Southern Police Department Joseph Dooley: I had spent 25 years with the Orange Police Department, and I retired as the chief. When I heard the job at Southern was available, I put in for the job, was pleasantly surprised when I was finalist, and accepted the position. The way I look at it, I changed venues.
2. What do you wish you knew about your job before you started?
JL: How to more effectively promote it. The routine of campus watch is to pick up the gear and make yourself available. I wish I knew going into it how to have more of a presence wearing the vest.
JD: I’m in my 13th year, and I can remember preparing for it when someone asked me a question in preparation for my interview: “Tell me about Clery.” I did not know what the Clery Act was. That’s probably the only thing.
3. What’s the most challenging aspect of the job?
JL: We try to make the schedule based on everybody’s free time, but it is a challenge making yourself available and staying committed to it because there are nights where you would want to do homework, or you just want to relax.
JD: This is a tough job in law enforcement at times. I care about the education piece too, so it’s more of a holistic approach. Staying fresh and making sure we’re relevant here and that people trust us can be one of the biggest challenges.
4. What is your favorite pastime when you’re not on duty?
JL: I’m a big fan of running, but I try to balance running with weight lifting as well. Exercise is not only the thing I have fun with, but it’s also the thing that keeps me stress-free and takes my mind off schoolwork and all other obligations.
JD: I read a lot. I love history, and I’m a big believer that history repeats itself. I read a lot about command and leadership. I’m trying to learn from other people’s journeys.
5. Do you have any goals for advancing university security?
JL: I would like to promote Campus Watch a bit more. Our service will go a long way in upping security on campus. We were exploring the idea of possibly spreading out a bit more—having more guys on at a time.
JD: I’ve always been a big believer in the visible presence of a police officer. That formula has worked since the beginning of time. Having public trust and transparency—it works. Just stay with what works and be prepared to move with the changes.
6. What do you want the Southern community to know about Southern Police/Campus Watch?
JL: We do it for the community. We try to give back to the community as much as possible, whether it be the New Haven community, or the Southern community.
JD: We truly are here to help. We are moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and we understand all the challenges of going to school.
7. What do you most enjoy about keeping the community safe?
JL: I personally enjoy having an impact on others. By helping others, we can ultimately help ourselves and learn about ourselves. There is nothing better in life than to make a positive impact.
JD: Seeing that the strategies that we use on a regular basis are actually working give me a lot of satisfaction, as well as working with the students and finding that their path is set.
8. What’s your favorite thing about the university?
JL: I’ve found that at Southern, I’ve been exposed to so many different cultures that I never would have been before. I love the diversity of this school, and I love all the different cultures and all the different personalities that make up its campus.
JD: We work really well together. It [has] got challenges, like everybody else, in terms of the economic situation we’re dealing with, but we all pull together to make things happen.
9. Does the Southern Police Department/Campus Watch program have a communicative-enough relationship with students?
JL: Not as much as we’d like to—our main communication is solely with the police department. We are figuring out ways to improve communication with students.
JD: I know I do. Our outreach is pretty good. We’re out there walking, we’re on bikes, and with the number of officers we have here, I think we do a lot with the students.
10. What impression do you wish to leave on the university?
JL: I want to be remembered as somebody that was willing to help others. I want to leave a lasting impact and set the stage for other people to come.
JD: There are a lot of stereotypes about university policing; there are a lot of stereotypes about police in general, and I like defining those and breaking down the barriers. The legacy that I would like is a good group of people that will continue to keep up the good work.
By August Pelliccio